On-call time is one of the most complex areas of employment law. Being on-call is a widely-accepted form of labor, especially in the health care industry. However, determining what portion of on-call time is compensable under the law is the tricky part. The federal government addresses the subject of on-call time in the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The FLSA states that employees in Florida and elsewhere must receive at least the minimum wage as well as overtime for extra hours worked. It also has a few things to say about on-call time. Some employees are required to remain on the premises while on-call. Other employees are allowed to leave the premises while on-call. This is where it gets tricky.
The government believes that all workers should be compensated fairly for their duties. As such, employees required to remain onsite while fulfilling their on-call duties are putting in “hours worked” and must be compensated for the entire duration. Conversely, employees who may leave the premises while on-call do not get paid for these hours until and unless they are “called in” to work. However, there are occasions when this is not the case.
If an employee’s freedom is unduly constrained while on-call, he or she may be eligible for compensation. These circumstances are widely varied, which means that the employee may not understand what is compensable time while on-call and what is not compensable time.
If you work on-call and believe you deserve compensation due to the constraints placed on your freedom, you should probably speak with a lawyer about your case. Together, you can determine if your employer is breaking the law by denying you compensation for the time you serve on-call.
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, “Fact Sheet #22: Hours Worked Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA),” accessed Feb. 16, 2016