On-Call Pay in California
In California, employers are generally required to pay employees for all hours worked, including any time spent on-call. However, the specific rules for on-call hours in California can depend on the circumstances of the on-call employee arrangement, hours worked, the employee’s job duties and regular working hours, and state minimum wage and/or labor laws.
Under California law, an employee who is required to be “on-call” and available to work during their off-duty time is generally considered to be working and as such, they are entitled to proper compensation under California employment law. This fact stands even if the employee is not actually performing actual work during the on-call time.
If an employee is required to remain on the employer’s premises (a.k.a. under the employer’s control) during the on-call time, under California labor law, the California employer is typically required to pay the employee for all time spent on-call, even if the employee is not actually performing work. Under wage and hour law, the on-call time would generally be considered “hours worked” and must be compensated at the employee’s regular rate of pay (which typically must be at least minimum wage).
If the employee is not required to remain on the employer’s premises during the on-call time and is free to engage in personal activities, the rules for on-call pay can be more complicated. In general, an employee who is free to engage in personal activities during on-call time must still be compensated for the time spent on-call if the restrictions on their activities are significant enough to effectively limit their personal pursuits.
What does this mean? For example, if an employee is required to respond to work-related emails or phone calls during on-call time, the time spent responding would likely be considered hours worked and must be compensated according to state labor laws.
The rules for on-call pay and on-call hours can be complex, and there are exceptions and exemptions that may apply in certain circumstances, even under California law and wage and hour rules.
If an employee has questions about on-call pay in California, it’s best to consult with an experienced employment law attorney who can advise wage and hour laws and the rights and options and employee possesses.
On Call Labor Laws In California
Curious about how the Fair Labor Standards Act defines on-call time? Some industries and careers require employees to work unusual hours. Doctors, nurses, and other medical staff are sometimes scheduled shifts that can last up to 72 hours in a clinic or hospital. While they can experience uninterrupted sleep, sometimes they do not leave their workplace. Thus, an employee is at their job site, ready to work, despite doing other activities or sleeping.
According to California’s labor standards enforcement, “An employer is obligated to pay the wages of an hourly employee for all time that the employee is under the control of the employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work, whether or not required to do so.”
If an employee has questions regarding California labor laws, they should reach out to Lawyers for Justice, PC for a FREE consultation. Call (818) JUSTICE.