What are my right is I am a full-time hourly non-exempt employee who works on call every other week with no compensation?

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What are my right is I am a full-time hourly non-exempt employee who works on call every other week with no compensation?

My typical work week is over 40 hours before going on-call. I’m on call for 7 days straight and must be available around the clock to answer employee and other work related questions. My phone rings frequently at all hours of the day and night. Quite often I actually go into the office to cover someone’s shift. I’m required to be available the entire week to work out any issues that arise and cover shifts when no other coverage is available. I am not paid for these hours even though I cannot plan or do anything I want during my on call period. Should I be compensated for this?

Asked on May 23, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Even if there are limitations due to your need to be available, as long as when not actually being called or working, you can choose what to do--i.e. sleep, eat, do chores, socialize, watch TV, exercise, shop, etc.--you are not paid for the "on call" time, only for the time you are actually responding or working. The law accepts that being on call imposes some restrictions, but so long as you essentially control your own time, it is not considered paid work time.
If you are hourly, you must be paid for all time spend actually working--e.g. answering phone calls or questions, covering shifts, etc. You would get overtime when the total hours worked during a week exceeds 40 hours. If you are salaried, they owe you no additional pay for this: your weekly salary is your total compensation for all work done during the week.


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