Can a person beon-call with no pay or compensation?

My husband is on-call 14 days a month, to hang around for emergency calls. Is it legal for them to make him do this without paying him? Also, while he is in the company car, is he protected by his company while driving? Aren’t there liabilities while he is on his way to the job if he is driving their car in case of an accident? Finally, they will not let him clock in until he reaches his first job. Is that right?

Asked on September 7, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Colorado


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

To take your questions in reverse order:

1) He should clock in when he reaches his regular office, if that's his first stop of the day, so he'd then be paid to go to the job site. If he goes directly to the job site, if its roughly as far as his "normal" commute to his employer would be, then his day starts when he gets there. If its much further than his normal commute, he probably should be paid for the difference in travel time.

2) If he is in a car accident when driving the company car, he could possibly be sued directly as well as the company being sued. The company is the more logical target for the lawsuit, and may be obligated to defend or indemnify him, but that's not a given. He should confirm whether the company's insurance policy will defend or indemnify employees driving company cars.

3) If he has to hang around in his neighborhood--i.e. just be available to come in if called, but is otherwise free to do what he wants--then until/unless he's called in, he doesn't need to be paid. If he has to stay at a ready room or the equivalent and is not free to do what he wants, then he should be paid.

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