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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2013
    Posts
    1

    Default On Call Pay

    My question involves employment and labor law for the state of: Ohio
    I am a salaried nurse required to take 30-40 hrs of on call time a month for my job with a medical group. I carry a pager and when called, I am expected to report within 20 minutes to an Emergency Room. The shifts are M-F 5PM-12AM and/or weekend 8AM-12AM. I can't go anywhere outside the 20 min loop and I have to get a babysitter for my children during this time period because I can't take the time to take them somewhere first before I go into the Emergency room. I am only compensated if I am called in. Is this legal? Should they be paying me an hourly call pay?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,207

    Default Re: On Call Pay

    Yes, it is legal and not even all that uncommon. Many, many, many employees in many industries besides medicine have similar on-call policies. They are completely legal - the only issue is whether or not the specific policy is sufficiently restrictive for the on-call time to be considered compensable.

    In 30+ years of HR I have only ONCE heard of a case where simply carrying a pager was sufficient to be called compensable time, and that was in a state that is MUCH more employee friendly than yours. (Obviously, if you are called back to work that is compensable time.) That being said, the devil is in the details. It's just barely possible that your state MIGHT consider a 20-minute report time to be a sufficient restriction. Not by any means a guarantee but you can certainly try calling the state DOL and see what they say.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Oklahoma
    Posts
    695

    Default Re: On Call Pay

    The DOL and courts have been pretty lax on how they determine what restrictions are excessive and prohibit activities. In general the things that come into play are the time limits imposed on the individual and the access the person has to continue other activities such as shopping, taking care of family, etc.

    For example, a 20 minute reporting time in small town is pretty reasonable. However, if you live in a larger metropolitan area and can show that a 20 minute commute from your residence to the reporting place is unreasonable, then the restrictions are much more strict and may require compensation. You not only need to show that the travel is tough for you, but that your living situation is similiar to others. I live in Norman, OK and travel to OKC for work which can take 30 mins with light/moderate traffic. It is a common scenario in this area and I could (probably) argue that a 20 minute response time to OKC is not reasonable. Since I have to remain away from my residence to meet the requirement I could argue for compensation since the time in not my own.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,207

    Default Re: On Call Pay

    Antrc makes a good point that I should have mentioned. There isn't going to be a bright line - "if you have to report in 15 minutes or less that's compensable but if you have to report in 16 minutes or more that's not". Rather, they will look at your specific circumstances, frequency of call, traffic patterns, availability of public transportation, maybe even how good cell coverage is if you get a really on the ball DOL representative, and decide on the basis of YOUR situation.

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