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On call Pay Questions

On call pay can be hard to receive for those employees who are not restricted in their ability to move about and continue with their life as normal. However, there are situations where an employee is required to stay in one area and not leave during the on call period. When employees realize that they will not get paid for working on call, it can lead to very unhappy employees and raise questions about on call pay and on call pay laws. When people want to learn more about on call policy and on call laws, they ask the Employment Experts.. The Experts answer a wide variety of questions related to on call pay. Below are five of the top questions answered by the Experts.

Can an employer withhold vacation pay or wages if you refuse to be on call without pay?

An employer can put an employee on call without pay if the employee isn’t severely restricted in the ability to move about. With most everyone having cell phones or beepers, the idea that one is restricted can be hard to prove in court. As far as the vacation time goes, as long as you do not have a contract stating otherwise, an employer can take the vacation time as punishment for you not performing on call duties. However, under the Fair Labor Standards Act, your employer cannot withhold your wages for hours already worked. If your employer is doing this, you should file a wage claim with the state department of labor or the US Department of labor.

When paying an employee on call pay for after hours, do they receive the same hourly or salaried rate, or a reduced on call rate?

Generally, you would pay an on call employee based on how much control you would have over that employee while on call. For instance, if the employee has to stay in the office on the computer, or if the employee has to stay at home and refrain from drinking alcohol, or if the employee actually performs any work while being on call, etc. The more limitations put on the employee will determine that you pay at least minimum wage for each hour the employee is on call and pay for any overtime hours accordingly. If you only require the employee to be available to answer questions that can be done by cell phone, it is unlikely that you would be expected to pay anything at all except for the time that he is actually performing work duties during the on call time.

Is it legal for an employer to not pay on call pay to employee’s but to tell them to take a day off during the pay period as compensation?

If an employer allows employees to take an extra day off from work as compensation for working on call, this is generally completely up to the employer. The employer is not required to offer such allowances to employees, especially if the employees are hired as at will employment. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the payment of on call pay is based on what restrictions the employer places on the employees while being on call. If an employee is forced to remain in one area, such as an office while on call, the employer should pay the employee for hours of work performed. However, if there are no restrictions other than being available for questions and they can be reached by phone, the employer isn’t required to pay for on call time. There have been times that the courts state that requiring an employee to refrain from alcohol and responding to a call within a set time frame are considered minor restrictions and do not require an employer to pay for the on call pay.

Is it legal to require an on call employee be in front of the computer at all times?

An employer who expects the employee to be restricted to a desk in front of a computer for long periods of time is being unreasonable. Also, if the employer is going to restrict an employee in this manner, the employer should expect to pay the employee on call pay. If for some reason the employer refuses to pay the employee, this would be grounds for seeking on call pay which a court would order the employer to pay. You may want to consult an attorney about your rights.

Can an employer expect an employee to be on call for an entire weekend without on call pay?

Due to the efficiency of cell phones, it is hard for an employee to argue the fact that they have restrictions severe enough to consider on call pay. If the employer expects you to remain in one area and to perform job duties during your on call period, usually the employee will be paid on call pay. However, if there are very few restrictions such as answering a call within a set amount of time or to refrain from alcohol during the on call period, these restrictions would not be enough to require on call pay.

When an employer doesn’t pay an employee on call pay, it can leave an employee wondering what their rights are and the provisions of on call pay laws. There are some situations that require an experienced insight to Employment law. Before you take the advice of your friends and family, or pay outrageous lawyer fees, you can ask the Experts. The Experts can offer legal insight and find a solution for your individual situation in an efficient and knowledgeable manner.

Ask an Employment Lawyer

Tina
Tina, Lawyer
Category: General
Satisfied Customers: 8108
Experience:  JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
4460311
Type Your Employment Law Question Here...
characters left:
11 Employment Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Employment Lawyers are online & ready to help you now

Tina
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 7759
JD, BBA, recognized by ABA for excellence.
Marsha411JD
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 10539
Licensed Attorney with 27 yrs. exp in Employment Law
Infolawyer
Lawyer
Satisfied Customers: 9785
Licensed attorney helping employers and employees.

Recent On Call Questions

  • My employment contract clearly states that I have off on

    My employment contract clearly states that I have off on national holidays. My boss asked me to work Thanksgiving day. I told him no. I am not working Christmas day, and he didn't and won't ask me to work Christmas day, but I am worried he will ask me
    to work New Year's day. I'm worried he will mention it at the last minute too, and that he will be casual like it was expected all along that I would work New Year's day. Am I within my rights to refuse, citing my employment contract that says I have off on
    national holidays? What if he takes some punitive action against me? What recourse do I have?
  • Hi I am an alien worker on H1B visa in United States. My employer

    Hi
    I am an alien worker on H1B visa in United States. My employer and I have signed an agreement that I should not quit the company and hop on to a different one within the first one year. If I ever want to quit this job the agreement says that I should give notice only two weeks before the expiry date of the agreement. And if I happen to stay with them even for a single day after the expiry, the agreement applies for the next one year. It appears like an endless cycle. Even though I have another opportunity from another company I am not able to do the visa transfer due to the lack of sufficient time. The bond has been made in a clever way. It sounds like a bonded labour. Is breaching this agreement during the term an offense of which my employer could take advantage ?
    Thanks
    Deepak
  • I was let go from my job in august 2014. I am a pipe welder

    I was let go from my job in august 2014. I am a pipe welder and still had in my possession 3 company tools. approximately 45 days after leaving, I told my foreman that the owner needed to contact me and make arrangements if he wanted his things. (over the course of 3 yrs that I worked for him I would on many occasions weld various projects at my place , store tools and equipment and etc. I would call him to talk about what I was having to do but he had no care or concern and usually would just avoid me).
    Anyways , back to making arrangements with me to get what i have. I never heard anything from him, so I basically decided I would keep what I have because he told me that if I would take over the position I was in, he would give me $2 an hr more and he would pay $250 a month towards insurance . well, it was a year and a half later when I finally got the $2 and when I finally decided to get insurance the first of this year, he paid $200 a month for 2 months. In August I found out that he quit paying towards insurance after the 2nd month. thats when I got "let go", because I asked why he hadnt paid for 5 months and didnt even say anything to me . Now 3 months later he sends me a text message saying he needs to come get his things.! can this asshole do this?
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