Some types of jobs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania require workers to be on call during their off-hours so that they can return to work on short notice. Many of these workers are people who have troubleshooting skills or expertise that may be needed to keep the companies running. While these employees may be on call, not all of them will be paid for the time. Swartz Swidler can explain when on-call workers should be paid and when their employers do not have to pay them.
When must on-call workers be paid for their time?
On-call workers who are paid receive compensation for the time that they spend on-call and are available to work. However, being on call does not mean that you will definitely be paid.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, there are guidelines for determining when you will be paid for time that you spend on call. When you make yourself available at your workplace for assignments that are on call, your employer must pay you for the time that you spend at your workplace. This might include a hospital employee who remains at the hospital during on-call hours or maintenance workers who are required to stay within a couple of miles from their workplaces. Workers who have employment contracts that state that they must be paid for on-call time must also be compensated for the times that they spend on call.
When employers are not required to pay for on-call time
When you are able to spend your on-call time at your home, your time is considered to be in non-restricted conditions. Generally, this time will be unpaid. Your employer can place certain restrictions on your time without having to pay you such as asking that you avoid drinking alcohol while you are on call.
If you are unable to use the time that you have at home for your own purposes, you will need to be paid. For instance, if you receive so many calls that you are unable to do anything else, you are not able to use your time for your personal activities and should be compensated. The time that you spend answering calls and traveling to and from your job site count as compensable time. If you are an exempt employee and receive a salary, your employer will not have to pay you for being available, however.
If your company has a policy in place to pay for on-call time, it must pay all of the employees who spend time on call. While companies are not required to have these types of policies, some have them anyway. You can talk to human resources or check your handbook to see whether your company pays for on-call time.
Contact Swartz Swidler
If your time is severely restricted when you are on call, you might be eligible for compensation. Schedule a consultation with the employment lawyers at Swartz Swidler to learn more about your rights.