An employer’s obligation to compensate employees for time spent “on call” or waiting is a gray area under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The FLSA requires employers to pay at least minimum wage for all hours worked and overtime wages to hourly, non-exempt employees who work over 40 hours in a given workweek. Many employees spend significant time “on-call” or waiting, so whether they should be compensated for this time is a very important issue.
If an employee is required to remain on call on their employer’s premises or so close that they cannot use their time effectively for their own purposes are likely working while on call. Obviously, each set of facts and circumstances regarding the extent to which employees are restricted to use the on call time as they would like.
If you are not paid for your on call time, the best thing to do is to speak with experienced employment attorneys because if your on call time is compensable, you will likely be entitled to significant overtime. In addition, there are many cases that support an employees’ right to pay for on call time and others which do not. Therefore, it is imperative that your situation be looked at very closely.
Employers may or may not also be required to pay employees for time spent waiting. In general, whether the employer should pay the employees for waiting time depends on the circumstances as employees may be engaged to wait or they may be waiting to be engaged. It is probably easiest to discuss whether waiting time should be paid by discussing a few examples.
If an employee is waiting while on duty, such as a stenographer who reads a book while awaiting dictation, firemen who play checkers while waiting for alarms, and factory workers who talk to their coworkers while waiting for their machinery to be repaired, should all be compensated for this time spent waiting. These employees are “engaged to wait” and must be paid for the waiting time under these circumstances.
Like on call time, if an employee is completely relieved from duty for a long enough period of time to enable them to use their time for their own purposes are not hours worked. Employees are completely relieved of their duties if they are told in advance that they may leave the job and won’t have to commence work until a specified time. These employees are “waiting to be engaged” and this waiting time does not have to be paid.
We are here to help you with any issues related to your compensation, including questions about on call time or waiting time. Depending on the level of restriction employers place on employees during on call time or waiting time will directly impact whether you are entitled to be paid for this time. Please feel free to contact our office today to speak with an Ohio Overtime Lawyer about compensation, on call time, waiting time, overtime, or any other issue involving your wages. You may contact our office for a FREE consultation with our Ohio Overtime Attorneys by filling out the information on our contact page or calling 1-614-949-1181.