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LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37855
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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I work in ND and am frequently put on standby for a day or

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I work in ND and am frequently put on standby for a day or two weekly and if I do not work I currently am not paid for those days. Is this legal?
Good evening,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your situation.

Under Federal law, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and ND employment laws, any time you are obligated to stand by waiting for work, and you are not allowed freedom of movement---meaning you are required to stay at your place of employment, may not leave to go home, go to sleep, run errands----then you must be paid for your time. While the employer may pay you at a lesser rate for that time---as little as minimum wage---you never-the-less must be paid and not paying you for that time is a violation of employment laws.

Under the law, the employer can demand a reasonable amount of time for you to respond to a call to work though. If you work from anywhere on a laptop, a 5 or ten minute response time would likely be legal to expect. If you have to respond back to the office, a 1/2 hour response time is more in line with what may be asked for.

Standby time that you are free to leave and do other things need not be compensated for. You are only eligible to demand wage for time you are actually working or required to stand by in a particular place such as the employer's office.

You may reply back to me using the Continue the Conversation or Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions; and if you do, I ask that you please keep in mind that I do not know what you may already know or with what you need help, unless you tell me.

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I wish you the best in 2012,

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