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  • on call compensation Minnesota

    As an HVAC technician I am required on a rotating basis to be on call 24 hrs for a week at a time.
    I am required to carry a pager and respond within 15 minutes to a page then if necessary go to the customers house. Therefore I am restricted from drinking alcohol and cannot be far from home so that I can respond promptly.
    My question is should I be compensated for being on call under restriction? Also If I haven't worked 40 hrs that week I only get paid straight time for going to a call. I get paid from the time I leave my house but then my time stops when I leave the customers house not when I get home. I can be as much as an hour away from home at times.

  • #2
    I can say that having to carry a pager and restrictions on drinking alcohol are legally nothing. Courts have looked at those many times and have always said that these things by themselves do not cause an "on call" situation.

    The one thing you said of interest is "respond within 15 minutes". Do you mean arrive at the customer's house within 15 minutes of the page? Or do you mean call back your employer within 15 minutes of the page? Legally two very different things.

    If you mean arrive at the customer's house within 15 minutes at the page, then that very well might meet the "sufficiently restricted" requirement in the on call regulation (29 CFR 785.17). The complication is that the regulation does not give a hard number minutes, just vague "sufficiently restricted" language. The many, many courts who have at this agree with a "must look at all factors" approach, but do not agree on just what those factors are. Clearly the time allowed to report to work is a factor, even the major factor. But different courts basically call this differently. I have a law book that discusses this and different courts in the same jurisdiction have come down on different sides of 15 minutes. Meaning what is true in your state is likely not true in the next state over, even though both states are citing exactly the same federal regulation. Worse, I have no idea how your state calls this. And if you ask them, they will like say that there is no magic number of minutes but rather "all factors" must be examined. Meaning, punt. You file the claim and the ALJ gets to toss a coin. Might work. Might not work.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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