Q. I employ people to be on-call during certain periods of the workweek. Do I have to compensate them for this time?
A. Yes and No. Yes, if you require them to wait on your premises to be called to duty. An example would be a fireman waiting to respond to an emergency. No, if you require an employee to carry a beeper or leave a number where he/she can be reached in case of emergency during specified hours. In this case, the employee is able to use the time effectively for his/her own purposes, even though there is a slight limitation. Payment must be made for all time the employee is called upon to perform work including the time of the phone call summoning the employee to work. Please be advised that if the calls are so frequent or the conditions so restrictive that an employee cannot use the time effectively for his/her own benefit they may be considered as “engaged to wait,” in which case the time spent waiting will be compensable.
Q. If I send workers out on a job and they have to wait for a customer or equipment to arrive, do I have to pay them for the time spent waiting?
A. Yes, unless you specifically relieve the employee from duty, and the time period is sufficiently long enough for the employee to use the time for his or her own purposes. For example, a trucker waiting six hours to pick up a load has sufficient time, but a stenographer waiting 15 minutes for dictation does not. If a regular part of a person´s duties concerns waiting, that time will always be considered work time.
Disclaimer: No response to the above queries is intended as legal advice. The answers are general answers based on general questions. If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.
This column is sponsored by the Lower Columbia Human Resource Management Association.
LCHRMA represents a gathering of business and Human Resources professionals. Join them each month for a luncheon and training that covers many aspects of employment law and human resources.
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1483 Duane Street, Astoria.
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