Do I have to pay my employees for being on call at their house?

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Do I have to pay my employees for being on call at their house?

We are a 24 hour locksmith company with 3 commission paid employees. They do not
work out of the office. When they are not on a call they are on their own time.
They are mostly at there house. They are required to answer their phone and
respond to their next call within 30 to 45 minutes. Do I have to pay them for
being on call, meals ect?

Asked on June 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not an employee needs to be paid for on-call time, depends on several factors. They are: (1) how many calls the employee gets while on call (the more they get, the stronger the case is that they should be compensated); (2) how long does the employee have to respond to the call (the sooner they have to, the more likely that they should be paid); (3) where can the employee go while on call (if they must stay within a specified distance from work, then they probably are entitled to compensation); and (4) what can the employee do during their on-call time (the more restrictions placed on them such as prohibiting alcohol use, then the greater the chance that they will have to be paid). For further information, you can contact the Department of Industrial Relations or contact a local employment law attorney.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Whether or not an employee needs to be paid for on-call time, depends on several factors. They are: (1) how many calls the employee gets while on call (the more they get, the stronger the case is that they should be compensated); (2) how long does the employee have to respond to the call (the sooner they have to, the more likely that they should be paid); (3) where can the employee go while on call (if they must stay within a specified distance from work, then they probably are entitled to compensation); and (4) what can the employee do during their on-call time (the more restrictions placed on them such as prohibiting alcohol use, then the greater the chance that they will have to be paid). For further information, you can contact the Department of Industrial Relations or contact a local employment law attorney.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have to pay them for being on call: if they are on their own time, may choose to relax, sleep, entertain, do chores, shop, etc., and may be pretty much anyplace local they choose, subject only to have to respond within 30 - 45 minutes, that is not a sufficient restriction on their actions or activities to constitute "work": this is still considered their own personal (uncompensated) time.


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