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.