Author Topic: Expenses plus Salary  (Read 1090 times)

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Expenses plus Salary
« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2020, 10:09:54 am »
What she is saying is that

If she goes to the conference, they will pay her way in. Say $10.

If she goes to work instead, she'll get paid for that. That pays $20-$30.  Double or triple what the conference cost.

So, if she goes to the conference, she only gets $10 for the day, whereas if she went to work, she'd get $20-30.

Does that make sense now?

And that $10 will NOT come in cash. It will come in the form of the non-monetary value of the conference she has attended.

Actually, I was thinking that the $10 was the ticket for the conference.  So, you're right, she doesn't get the cash, but she does get 'free' entrance fee to a conference.   But then she loses the day's pay.

I've been in both situations.  If I wanted to go to a conference (although I've only gone to free ones), I just take leave from work to go.  It's my PTO (paid time off) to use as I see fit, EVEN IF the conference is work-related.  I have no idea what would happen if my employer decided to pay my way into a conference.  I'm nowhere near important enough to ever find out, either.

I also worked my way through college, while working at various jobs.  I work in computers and I studied computers, but my employer(s) did not pay for my college tuition, nor did they pay me for my time in class.  That was all entirely on me.  I took evening classes (day classes when I worked nights), and finished a 4-year degree.   That degree did help my career tremendously anyway.

OnyxBird

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Re: Expenses plus Salary
« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2020, 10:25:43 am »
What she is saying is that

If she goes to the conference, they will pay her way in. Say $10.

If she goes to work instead, she'll get paid for that. That pays $20-$30.  Double or triple what the conference cost.

So, if she goes to the conference, she only gets $10 for the day, whereas if she went to work, she'd get $20-30.

Does that make sense now?

And that $10 will NOT come in cash. It will come in the form of the non-monetary value of the conference she has attended.

Yes, but the OP seems to be saying that the choice to go to conferences is voluntary. If the OP doesn't consider the conference/seminar to be valuable enough to her personally to be worth missing paid work hours and they're truly voluntary, then all she has to do is not go to those conferences/seminars. The employer has presumably done a cost-benefit analysis and decided that the value to the company of employees attending the conference is more than the registration cost but less than the cost of paying employees to go to conferences. The employees who want to go need to do the cost-benefit analysis on their own end: does the conference value to themselves (not the company) exceed the cost of lost work hours or not?

From the employer's perspective, there's a whole spectrum of possible levels of value for a conference:
  • If the employer considers it necessary for the OP to do her job, then it's work that should absolutely be paid, but in that case, it would also be mandatory.
  • If the employer considers it non-essential but valuable to the company to the point that they really want the OP to go (either to learn or to represent the company), then they would have good incentive and/or obligation to pay for the entire cost (registration and work hours) of having an employee attend as work.
  • If the employer thinks the conference is mildly useful/relevant, but not valuable enough to outweigh the costs of paying someone to attend, then it's not cost-effective to "send" someone to the conference (i.e., to have someone attend as work on paid time), but there is value in facilitating attendance for employees who wish to attend on non-work time for their own personal development. (But it's basically like tuition reimbursement for learning pursued in one's own time, not work.)
  • If the employer thinks the conference has zero value to them, then there's no value (except possibly employee morale) in offering to pay anything towards it at all, and any employee wanting to go would have to both sacrifice the paid work hours and pay the registration fee.

The OP's employer seems to be falling at #3. As long as they're 1) not trying to dictate how she spends her time at the conference or demand she do work for them there (e.g., representing the company by presenting/recruiting/etc.), 2) they make it clear up front what they're offering to cover (only registration costs versus registration and paid time), and 3) they aren't "unofficially" penalizing people who choose not to attend conferences, then I don't see anything inherently wrong about it.

Personally, I am looking at this as someone who generally dislikes conferences. They're relevant in my line of work, so I go to some conferences because my employer/customers ask for it, and it's paid work time. But if they didn't ask me to go as work, there are few, if any, work-relevant conferences that I would consider attending at my own time and expense. Paid work travel of any type at my company requires advance approval, and approval requires a business justification--they're not miserly about it, but requests to attend conferences without a clear business reason to go (e.g., customer request, presenting papers, direct relevance to a specific project that will fund the travel, etc.) can and do get turned down.

BTW, for those discussing that salaried exempt employees couldn't have their pay docked for missing work to attend a conference, that may be true, but my understanding (from reading "Ask a Manager") is that it would be perfectly legal to require that non-working time to be deducted from whatever vacation time the employer allots, so while the employee wouldn't actually lose pay, if the employer doesn't count it as work time, they would still have to decide if that activity was worth sacrificing that amount of their vacation allotment.

I think you're missing a #5.
5. Company offers a certain amount per employee of conference or seminar registration reimbursement as a employee benefit. I know it's not a popular opinion in this group, but sometimes employers to offer benefits that are primarily benefits to the employee with the focus on employee retention.

I also thought of a personal instance. My company will pay for some online training classes. Many that I take are for "stretch assignments" or technologies that I want to learn about but are not directly related to my current job. It is expected that I'll take these classes on my own time. Will they eventually benefit? Yes. But it is also important to me to personally invest my own time in my career growth.

I'm not understanding how that's different from my #3, but perhaps I phrased it unclearly. When I said the employer sees enough business value in conference attendance to "facilitate" employees attending on their own time, I meant stuff like the OP describes of funding registration fees but not counting it as paid time. I.e., the company ponies up something that is a cost to the employer and partially offsets the costs/difficulty to the employee versus attending solely on their own time and expense (e.g., employer paying some portion of the cost, allowing unusual schedule flexibilty, etc.).

Am I missing how that differs from paying partial costs as an employee benefit? The only obvious distinction I see is if you're talking about an across-the-board offer that has no dependence on the work value/relevance of the specific event, and my assumption would be that the business decision to do that is still generally based on the same basic calculation of "On average, enabling our employees to attend voluntary conferences has X expected value to the company, and it's not worth the cost of evaluating on a case-by-case basis."

Pandorica

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Re: Expenses plus Salary
« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2020, 12:28:55 pm »
At the company I used to work for, they would pay my salary, but that money would come from a different part of their budget, i.e., my regular salary came from the Project A budget, but an educational/conference day would come from the education budget.
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lisastitch

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Re: Expenses plus Salary
« Reply #33 on: March 05, 2020, 03:30:12 pm »
And there are different kinds of "hourly" workers.  DD worked retail--at the beginning of the week, they told her when she was working.  It might be ten hours one week, but 15 the next.  I am nominally "hourly", but my job is "coded".  I am in a position where I am expected to work 40 hours a week.  If I don't work 40 hours, then I need to use vacation or sick leave hours to make up the difference.

My employer will send me to conferences.  I usually do single-day, local ones.  They pay my entrance fee, and I am paid as if I had worked at my branch that day.  If I travel for one, they will pay hotel, per diem for meals, and airfare.  (It's been a while since I've done that and I don't remember the details).  I am also paid for an eight-hour day for each day of the conference.
Now, if I choose to go to a knitting conference, which is totally unrelated to my job, they don't pay for it, and I will need to use vacation to make up my 40 hours.
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jinx

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Re: Expenses plus Salary
« Reply #34 on: March 05, 2020, 07:25:12 pm »
My company has several different variations on this theme. We have in-house classes which are free to take and we receive our hourly pay while attending. If our attendance causes our daily hours to go over eight hours we still get overtime pay. These classes are not mandatory for everybody but your supervisor may require you to attend one or more. You can also request to attend a class.

We are also able to take industry-specific classes chosen by the company with any tuition paid by the company. We are expected to do the work (which is online) on our own time.

The company also offers tuition reimbursement. I have never used this so I don’t know the specifics, but I do know that any classes are taken on your own time.

Our company also sponsors quality circles. If your quality circle wins at an internal competition you progress to the next level which takes place in a different city and lasts for a week. In those cases we are still paid eight hours a day plus a per diem for meals. They also pay for the hotel, and everyone (4 people plus an advisor) gets their own room. We are expected to participate in workshops, team building and possibly classes while there.     

In the case of the OP, the company obviously sees a benefit to these conferences as they’re willing to pay for them. Therefore, I believe that the OP should be paid her regular wages.
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