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On-call Compensation

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  • On-call Compensation

    If anyone knows the answer to this, I would really appreciate it. In the state of Oregon, what is the law and requirements for paying an employee for being "on-call?" This would be in regards to an employee over 18 years old. I would like to know how long an employee can be on call with and without being compensated. In other words, is there a certain number of hours that an employee can be required to be on call and not be paid for it? Must the employee be required to remain on call for a mandatory amount of time without being compensated? Appreciate your help.

    Thank you,

  • #2
    Unless your movements and activities are severely restricted, you do not have to be paid to be on-call.

    Can you provide more details?

    How often you are called?
    Do you have to go in personally when you are called, or can the problem be resolved by other means (telephone, computer, etc.)?
    If you have to go in, how much time after the call do you have to get there?
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


    • #3

      Thank you for responding.

      Basically how it works is that I am on call on a rotating schedule on my days scheduled off. I am basically required to be contacted at home since I do not have a cell phone/pager and one is not provided to me by the company. If I am called, it is to report to work and work what they want me to. This usually ranges from 3-6 hours. I live only a short distance away (10 minutes) so it usually only takes me about 1/2 hour to get to work after being called. I don't believe there is a set requirement of time to report to work, but it is expected to be reasonable.
      The problem with this is that I basically have to sit at home and twiddle my thumbs in case they call me. I feel that this a huge inconvenience since they do not provide a cell phone/pager and it is not in the requirements to have one either. I could simply get a cell phone of my own, but then the question of compensating me for a portion of my bill comes into play.
      I feel that I should be compensated for at least part of the time I am in essence "forced" to stay home on-call. For example, 2 hours of compensation would be at least satisfactory.
      The other side to this is that there is no required length of time that I am set to be on call for. The company is open from 11am-9pm, which means technically I could be called at any time during these hours. One day I waited until 5:30 pm, and I decided that I wanted to leave for dinner. When I got home there was a message that was left at 6:30pm for me to come in. I then was "coached" the next shift on why I wasn't at home when they called. I then asked them what exactly the expectation was for the amount of time and/or what times I would have to wait at home on-call. They basically told me that there wasn't a set time and that I just need to be available in case they need me. On a side note, they then told me that for my "punishment" if you will, that I would have to work next Friday night, which they had originally scheduled me off. WOW!!
      This kind of behavior and unprofesionalism has begun eating at me. I thank any one that responds, because I am seriously considering taking action if these policies/guidelines are breaking the law in some manner, and nothing is done to change them. I feel that this is unfair treatment to me as an employee, that follows the rules and is all around an excellent and dedicated worker.
      Thank you again for your time and responses,


      • #4
        Well, you can contact the state Dept. of Labor, but the fact that the company does not provide a cell phone or pager may not help you much. You could get a very cheap cell phone package, with local coverage only, for probably $30-$35 per month, if you don't use it for anything else. That would free you from "sitting home", which you are doing because, since the employer is not providing a cell phone or pager, you won't get one either.
        I would think that the small charge would be worth it. I'm just not positive the state DOL will see it the same way you do, but you can give them a call and explain your situation and find out.

        Sorry I couldn't be of more help, but this is very likely situation-and-state specific.
        I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


        • #5
          I assume from your post that you are a restaurant employee because of the hours and working on Friday night....LOL

          Maybe you could turn a bad siutation into something postive. I understand your bosses concern about covering shifts and getting slammed, he's looking out for his business and ultimately your job.

          Since you don't have a cellphone, maybe offer to call in at specified times, or maybe suggest to your boss that whoever is "on-call" be given a beeper. Beepers are dirt cheap, usually less than $10 per month.

          This is one time instead of making waves, maybe offer solutions, might get you further ahead in the long run, if that is the REAL problem.