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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.
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