If I work as a medical transporter, what are my rights to be compensated for standby time?

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If I work as a medical transporter, what are my rights to be compensated for standby time?

My employer routinely deducts hours I’ve worked due to what he calls standby time. I believe he is incorrect and this is a controlled standby. There are also instances were time for meals is not given due to demand. Is this legal?

Asked on December 3, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The exact facts are critical in determing when (and when not) standby time must be paid, so for a definitive answer, you are advised to consult with an employment law attorney in detail about your situation. That said, as a general rule:
* If you are more or less free to be offsite and to do what you'd like (e.g. recreation, errands, go out to dinner, nap, etc.) while on standby, subject only to being "on call" and having to respond if called in, that's not work time: waiting for a call while doing your own things is not work, and is not compensible.
* If you are waiting at the employer's location or otherwise at a location determined by the employer and are not free to go or do whatever you like, then it is considered working and you must be paid for it (if you're hourly, as you most likely are), even if you spend the time reading, watching TV, etc. When an employee is required to stay somewhere by the employer, for the employer's benefit or convenience, that is work. (Of course, the employer could also make you do something else productive during this time if it chose: e.g. clean the office or the transport vehicle, file, do paperwork, etc.).


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