Are Employers Required to Pay Employees for On-Call Time?

Are Employers Required to Pay Employees for On-Call Time?

October, 2020

Many employees do not mind being on-call for work, while others find that it severely limits the personal activities they can take part in while they are on-call. Whether you love working on-call or you do not, a common question arises surrounding this working time. Are employers required to pay you for it? Unfortunately, there is no single answer to that that fits every situation. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the on-call work and, most of all, how limited the employee is in the personal activities in which he or she can partake while on call.

Compensation for Being On-Call

Whether an employee should receive pay for being on-call is determined by federal and state wage and hour laws. According to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Ohio’s minimum wage laws, employees must be paid for any time they actually work while on-call. Workers who are not paid for this time can file an unpaid minimum wage or unpaid overtime claim against their employer. However, the question of on-call pay does not usually refer to this time. If an employee is not working but is still on-call, should the employee still receive pay for that time?

The answer depends on the extent to which the employee can use that on-call time for personal activities. An employee who is required to remain on the employer’s business property or somewhere else close by is likely considered to be very limited in the personal activities they can partake in while on-call. However, if an employee is not required to remain on the employer’s property but the employer must be able to reach them if they are needed for work, the time may not be compensable.

Factors Taken Into Consideration

Whether or not an employee must remain on the employer’s property while on-call is only one-factor courts take into consideration when making a decision on these claims. Others include:

  • The number of calls to the on-call employee
  • Restrictions on the employee’s behavior and movements
  • Time limits placed on the employee for responding to a call
  • Disciplinary actions taken against employees for late or missed responses
  • The ability of the on-call employee to ask another employee to take their shift
  • The pursuit and extent of personal activities engaged in while on-call.
  • How much the employer benefited from the on-call time

For example, a court may find that although a firefighter may participate in personal activities while away from the premises when they are on call, their employer should still compensate them for their time. The circumstances of a firefighter’s job may mean that their own personal schedules are restricted, that they must respond in a certain amount of time, and that they may face disciplinary action if they do not respond. These types of cases are extremely fact sensitive and the outcome is based on examining all of the circumstances in a particular situation.

Our Ohio Employment Lawyers can Advise on Your Claim

On-call situations are always different and only the unique facts of your situation will determine if you should be compensated for on-call time. If you believe your employer did not pay you the proper wages you earned, call our Columbus employment lawyers at Marshall & Forman, LLC today. We can evaluate a potential case and help to hold employers accountable for wage and hour law violations.