Am I supposed to be paid for the off clock telephone calls?

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Am I supposed to be paid for the off clock telephone calls?

I’m the desk supervisor paid hourly at a hotel. I received a phone call at 9:45 pm that lasted an hour; it was in relation to a problem at the hotel. I added the hour on my time sheet which my manager tried to erase saying you’re not getting paid for that. It’s part of your job never explained to me that I would go unpaid for additional work but I’ll let it slide this once. I did ask how will I be compensated and he retailiated stated I’m not for answering your calls on my day off he’s salary. Am I in the wrong?

Asked on June 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you are an hourly employee (i.e. not salaried) as you are, you have to be paid for all work you do--including taking work-related phone calls--whether it is done "off the clock" or not: an employer  cannot make you do work but then not pay simply because it was not during normal work hours. Rather, under the labor laws, you must be paid for all work you do, no matter when or where (e.g. a phone call taken at home). 
(As a practical matter, "de minimis," or trivial, amounts of time spent after hours do not need to be tracked or paid, such as a 1 - 2 minute phone call or answering a short email. Because it takes more time/effort to track and pay such small amounts than the time is worth, the law allows employers to not pay for de minimis time.)
If this becomes an issue, you could contact the state department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint; they can help you get compensation for your after-hours work.


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