Compensability Of On-Call Time


Work in the healthcare industry is unpredictable, and patient care is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ceiling leaks, staff illnesses, and patient emergencies can't be contained to the normal day-time work hours. As a result, many employers have on-call policies and procedures that allow them to effectively respond to off-hours demands.

Under such policies, on-call employees are expected to report in to work within a designated period of time ready to perform their job duties. As a result, on-call employees are often restricted in their ability to travel out-of-town, prevented from consuming alcohol, and must be reachable by phone or pager. Whether such restrictions make the time spent on call compensable under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) or state law is a fact-specific inquiry that must be evaluated carefully to avoid liability for unpaid wages.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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