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On Call Without Pay?

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  • On Call Without Pay?

    I'm a hospital technician who takes emergency call. A typical call shift is 14:30 to 23:00, for which I'm allowed to claim 8.5 hours "on call" pay (and time & a half for the hours we work if called in). We have a 30 minute required response time. The issue is, I'm required to have my phone on and respond to call at 14:00 for a 14:30 arrival at work. I'm not allowed to "charge" on call time for this 30 minutes before my official call shift starts, yet I am required answer and respond at 14:00 for a 14:30 arrival. If I'm working on call, I am required to stay till 23:00, when I'm relieved by the guy on 22:30 night call, who gets called in at 22:00. If I don't get called in, I'm considered to be off call at 22:00, when they'd call the night guy in; but my total obligation is 14:00 to 23:00 if they need me at 14:00, & I'm working at 22:30 when the night guy arrives. There is a 30 minute transition (hand over) period. Perhaps this is small potatoes, but it's something we've been debating at work. If I'm required to have my phone on and leave immediately for work at 14:00 to start a "14:30" call shift, and I am not released from work while on call till 23:00 is this not a total of 9 hours of chargeable "on call" time?

  • #2
    The fact of the matter is, they're not require to pay you just for being on call at all, unless you are called in or unless your time is unduly restricted as your state defines it. Nor are they required to pay you time and a half if you're called in unless that would bring you to over 40 in the week or whatever your unknown state's overtime laws say. You did not provide your state as requested, but I don't know of any states off hand where what you've described would be considered an undue restriction. So if you're getting paid 8.5 hours even if you're not called in, you're already getting paid more than the law requires.

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    • #3
      The circumstances in which on call pay is required at all are extremely rare with today's technology, and in no state does carrying a cell phone and being within distance to report in 30 minutes constitute restricting your activity to the point where it is compensable. Basically, unless you have to sit at home waiting for the phone to ring, they aren't required to pay on call time. They are already paying you more than the law requires by paying you for this time at all (unless of course you are actually called into work). I wouldn't push this.

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      • #4
        Thank you both for your responses. I wasn't planning on pitching a fit about this, but it does come up from time to time when our phone rings before our official call shift actually starts and we are told to high-tail it in.

        You've clarified this issue well. Many thanks!

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