Many professions come with the need to be on-call for work sometimes. This means that you might not have to go in for a shift, but you need to be ready if you are called. Different employers have different requirements for on-call shifts. These requirements can have an impact on whether you should be paid for the time you are on-call or not.
One restriction that is common when an employee is on-call is having to remain within a certain distance of work. Typically, if this is a short distance, such as five minutes, from the workplace, you will almost certainly be required to be paid. Longer distances might not come with the same pay requirement. This means that if you can go an hour away while you are on-call, you might not be eligible for pay.
Another restriction to consider is your clothing. If you have to wear your uniform while you are on-call, this means that your personal time is being restricted in a manner that will require you to be paid. It is important to realize that if you decide to wear your uniform without your employer requiring you to, your personal time isn’t being infringed upon by the employer.
You also have to think about how much freedom you have when you are on-call if you are trying to determine whether you should be paid or not. If you are very restricted and can’t enjoy the time you are on-call, chances are good that you will be required to be paid. If work disturbs you a lot during your on-call shift, you should likely be paid.
When an employer doesn’t pay you for on-call work, you might need to take legal action. This might not be a pleasant event but you deserve the money you are due.
Source: HR Morning, “FLSA: How to make sense of on-call and waiting time,” Dan Wisniewski, accessed Jan. 19, 2018