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On Call in Cali Question California

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  • On Call in Cali Question California

    Well I work for a contracting company, contracted to another company. I'm in the software field and I am in charge of software build activates. I am a non-exempt employee. Where I work there are monthly Production software releases which are deployed over the weekends. This means there is always quite a few people working on the weekends. Also a large part of the work is done offshore.

    Anyways, every time there is a Build for Production I am on call one day or more on the weekends (depending on how many builds are going and if something goes wrong).

    I do not get paid for being on call, but I do get paid overtime should I have to work. I can do the work remotely so long as I have my laptop and an internet connection.

    Although in a perfect world this would only be one day on call per month I find myself on call over the weekends more than not. For example the past 5 weeks there have been post production builds every weekend for multiple projects so I am on call. I work in LA but my family is located elsewhere so I often travel hours to visit them over the weekend only to get called off by work (but luckily I can work remote!)

    70% of the time I get No Pay because I am not called, and the other 30% of the time I'm usually only working for an 1/2 hour to 2 hours. But I feel like I never have any REAL free time, or vary rarely since I have to sick around an internet connection to some extent. My Girlfriend is very annoyed at me for this as well.

    My Favorite thing to do is going camping for example, but I find it somewhat difficult to go especially when I'm either at work or on call for over a month straight. Considering the place to go is about 5 hours away even if I get a single day off it's not worth 10 hours of driving to get there and back. I realize we all are somewhat restricted to what we can do by work but it seems a bit excessive to me recently.

    so 2 Questions.

    1) is there a minimum amount of hours I'm supposed charge when putting in time on the weekend? Meaning is there any regulation regarding this? I was told by somone I am supposed to bill for 3 horus time acording to California law. But I am not able to find this anywhere

    2) is there some kind of compensation I am supposed to receive for being on call? Or is it just my position to be a slave to corporate America?

    I'm planning on changing positions because it is driving me crazy, for a while I was also receiving calls from offshore 2-3 times a night at like 12am 2am and 4am for example. Usualy these are brief like 10 minutes or so but enough that I have a hard time getting enough sleep. I was also getting calls late night on the weekends (Sundays) since they are almost 12 hours ahead.

  • #2
    1. You can't find such a law because it doesn't exist. This is strictly up to the employer. Billing is not an issue addressed by law. There IS a minimum reporting pay law in California, but it only applies to being sent home early from your regularly scheduled workday, not when you are called in.

    2. You are not a slave. You can leave this employer. Slaves could not. Now, to the law. Whether "on call" time is compensable or not depends on a number of factors, but generally speaking, unless your personal activities are severely restricted, such as if you had to show up personally within 10 minutes, or the calls are SO frequent that you can't do anything else but sit there, it is unlikely the time would be compensable. There are internet connections anywhere these days; you know that you can catch a free wireless network almost anyplace.

    I'm not saying this is a tough schedule. What I'm saying is that, unless you can show me something else, I'm not inclined to think that the time is compensable. You can always call the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement if you want their opinion.
    I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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    • #3
      actualy where I like to go there is no wireless available, and I really need broadband speeds or better, it is extreamly slow even at home with cable and the laptop does not even have wireless.

      Being on call every weekend as well as all week long IS severly restrictive and is dictating the way I live my life outside of work. At least the company finaly provided a cell phone so I don't have to use my own minutes. I guess I will just be glad I am changing positions.

      Although I don't have a specific time frame in which I have to respond to calls they generaly want me to drop whatever I'm doing to go to work.

      Thanks,
      Justin

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      • #4
        It isn't enough that you are restricted from just certain activities. Cell phones work most anywhere and a prohibition on camping isn't enough to qualify the time as compensible. Otherwise, anytime an employee was asked to be on call, the employer would need to ask what they might be doing had they not been on call. If the difference between the time being paid and not being paid was a desire to go camping, LLBean's sales would skyrocket.
        I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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        • #5
          I was just using that as en example. But seriously having to be around a computer every day and all weekend with or without pay for over a month at a time, is quite restrictive IMO.

          Sure i you live in a city cell phones work almost anywhere, but theres ALOT of places they still do not work. And having broadband internet connectivity is even more restrictive.

          It's a double standard to me to have time off work, but still be on call and not available to do much of anything other than hang around the house.

          But I guess it is legal to interfear with peoples lives and not pay them so I guess I will look forward to my new position and getting out of my existing one.

          Thanks for your assistance and advice.
          Last edited by GlamisDuner; 10-13-2006, 12:31 PM.

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          • #6
            The fact that 70% of the time you are not called at all, and 30% of the time you only have to out in minimum time would defeat the notion that you must sit by the phone for the inevitable call. If while on call, you were constantly bombarded by calls and emails, then yes, it would be compensible. Being able to take the cell phone with you knowing there is a remote chance you may have to put in an hour of work, would not be.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
              The fact that 70% of the time you are not called at all, and 30% of the time you only have to out in minimum time would defeat the notion that you must sit by the phone for the inevitable call. If while on call, you were constantly bombarded by calls and emails, then yes, it would be compensible. Being able to take the cell phone with you knowing there is a remote chance you may have to put in an hour of work, would not be.

              I'd much rather be bombarded and Paid for sitting around the house than to limit my activites and end up wasting all my free time and not get paid anyways... I just was informed I will be working this weekend on sunday morning even though I made plans earlier this week to go out of town (have to hang out by my computer all morning for about an hour of work). It's probably closer to 50/50 or 60/40, although on good months 70/30 would apply.

              I figure if I'm wasting all my time and limiting my activites to sitting around the house. I may as well be working and getting paid. Even if I work an extra hour of overtime I don't see much of it with taxes and all. It's just not worth losing my entire weekend to make an extra $10 on-call...I would rather pay them the money to leave me alone or have it deducted form my paycheck. For me even an hour of work on Saterday and Sunday has the same effect as working 14 days straight, only without making any real extra money. Free time is supposed to be Free time where I can do as I please. I feel as if I'm Chained to a Chair, even if it is a long chain...

              This weekend I have to complete working on my ATV, work has kept me from completing it for he past 6 months. Desert season starts this month. So I know I will be covered in grime and oil then get called to work in the middle of it. Meaning I have to clean up to get on the computer, only to get dirty again as soon as I am finished. It wastes ALOT of time here and there and I hardly have any to spare in the first place, it's not just the hours I am actualy working.

              It's not about taking the phone with me.. I don't dare plan anything if there is a 50/50 or even 70/30 chance I will have to leave or go back home to work. For example I want to go to the beach.... Well forget it because I don't want to wate $30 in gas and an horus worth of driving because there is a good chance I will have to rush back home for a few minutes of work that would not even pay for my gas let alone my time wasted.

              But like you said, it's probably not enough to really matter so my best bet is to find a new position (get out of build coordination). Life is too short to waste my life and all my free for so little return.
              Last edited by GlamisDuner; 10-13-2006, 01:54 PM.

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