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Pager time vs. OT KS

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  • Pager time vs. OT KS

    This is my first post here so I will apologize if I am posting in the wrong area. Let's start with a little background.
    I work for a county operated ambulance service. My boss is salary, I am paid hourly scheduled for Mon-Fri 8-5 (40 hours). And I get paid OT for any time that I am working above 40 hours.
    There are also volunteers who cover the call schedule as well. They are paid $3/hr. for carrying a pager. They are not required to be at the station but are required to be an ambulance and rolling in under 5 minutes from time of page. (It's a small town and completely possible.) Then they are paid per call depending on what type of call it is.
    KS law states we have to have two licenses personnel available 24/7 for 911 calls.
    We don't always have two volunteers available to cover call. So from time to time I am asked to cover call schedule. When I do this I am paid $1 an hour to cover the schedule. I am not required to be at the station but can be at home. But I can't leave town or do anything that would tie me up and not make me available at a moments notice. If we do get a 911 call then I go back on the clock as OT until the call is finished then drop back to $1/hr. The overtime dollars I gain is far less than if I were compensated per call like the volunteers.
    The reason I was told I can't have $3/hr. like the volunteers is that FSLA prohibits me from volunteering at the same place I work. I was also told that the reason I make $1 instead of $3 is that I have benefits the volunteers don't have like insurance.
    Is this legal? Or if I am on call schedule should I be on OT? Is there any reason I can't make $3/hr. like everyone else. And get paid per call rather than OT while on the pager time?
    I do have a lot of freedoms with this job so I don't want to stir the pot too much but I feel that it's not worth tying up my weekend for $48. And I would like to have some info to bargain with should the point ever be pushed.

  • #2
    BTT, Anyone with any ideas? Anyone?


    • #3
      Sorry, guess nobody had an response for you.

      I will say that, even if these workers were employees, carrying a pager in and of itself would not make the time compensable. Having said that, it is doubtful that it wouldbe compensable for volunteers either. Do these workers have taxes withheld from their pay?
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.


      • #4
        Patty, you are probably right in that when the volunteers carry a pager to respond to call, since they are a volunteer, is a benefit, not a right. However, I am being told that I can't "volunteer" for the same place that I work. Therefore, I cannot get the same pay the volunteers get. I get less.

        Yes, the volunteers are considered employees, I believe, and yes they do have taxes taken out.

        The question really boils down to, If a full time employee is asked to carry a pager outside of their normal work hours for emergency calls is that compensable time? Or is the rate for that time at the discretion of the employer? And, if they are not paying my normal full rate to do so, can it be mandatory time or can I refuse to take the call time?
        Again, at $1 an hour, I don't really want to tie up my entire weekend for $48 minus taxes.


        • #5
          You sort of have two very different rules here.

          - "Volunteers" in this context are governmental only. There are very hard rules regarding governmental volunteers, including rules prohibiting employees from volunteering. Not my area of expertise, but your employer would be taking a very dangerous action letting you volunteer. I am including a pointer to the related regulations, although you will not like what you read.

          - Unrelated to "volunteers" is the "on call" rules. The employer, ANY employer, can make ANY employee carry a pager and NOT pay them for it. You say that you do not want to be on call unless you are paid more for it. Yes, you and the whole rest of the world. But legally this is a very dead issue. Your employer can make you be on call and not pay you anything for it, unless the CBA or contract says otherwise. Now once work starts, and this includes answering phone calls, things change. Hours worked are hours worked, no matter where the work occurs or what it is.


          FYI everyone. Just to be clear, governmental volunteers are a whole different set of law then non-profit volunteers.
          "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
          Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


          • #6
            Daw, you are right, it's not what I wanted to hear but at least now I can make some sense of it. It's not what I wanted, but it's what I needed to know.

            Thanks for the help.


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