Your On-Call Employer Might Owe You Money | Blog | Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Your On-Call Employer Might Owe You Money

Being an on-call employee has its perks, but it also has its plights. Failure to receive appropriate wages is one of them. You may be entitled to compensation if you’re an on-call worker in California. You’ll be pleased to know that a California employment attorney might be able to help you if you feel as though an employer has not paid you for the time you spent in limbo as an on-call worker. Here’s why:

The Employer Has Reserved Your Time 

The element of on-call status that might make you eligible for compensation is “time reservation.” When an employer makes it mandatory for you to call in to find out if you have to work, that employer is virtually hoarding a chunk of your time. For example, suppose you have to call in at 6 a.m. every morning to find out if you have to work from 7-3. Essentially, you won’t be able to perform another job or plan other activities between the hours of 6 and 3. You’ll lose nine hours of potential pay every time your employer decides that it doesn’t need you to work. Furthermore, the act of calling into work is the same as reporting to work from some people’s perspectives. You may qualify for compensation for those two reasons. 

Calling in Daily Versus Leaving a Contact Number

Whether you qualify for pay depends on your employer’s on-call process. It might be harder to prove that your situation warrants payment if the employer keeps your number on file and calls you when they need you. That process is less intrusive of your lifestyle, especially if the employer doesn’t hold you accountable if you don’t answer the phone or agree to report to work when they call. On the other hand, a mandatory call-in procedure is more likely to warrant a legal case for compensation. 

Previous Rulings and Laws

A clothing retailer lost a case in 2019 because of California’s Reporting Time Pay law. This law states that workers must be paid at least half the wages of their scheduled shift if they report to work and are then not put to work by the employer. The workers are entitled to at least two hours of pay but no more than four hours of pay for each occurrence. 

This California law defines “reporting to work” as activities that include:

  • Appearing at the job site physically
  • Logging into a remote computer for work
  • Going to a client’s site
  • Setting out on a vehicular route
  • Calling into work  

The previously mentioned clothing store retailer scheduled their on-call workers for shifts and then had them call in two hours before each shift to find out if they were actually working each day. The call-in procedure made them eligible for Reporting Time Pay

Are You Entitled to Compensation?

It’s difficult to tell whether you qualify for pay without having an attorney look into the specifics of the case. The best way to protect yourself is to schedule an appointment with an attorney who can give you a definitive answer based on the laws and precedents. California’s law is very protective of its on-call workers. Thus, you may have a strong case for a seasoned lawyer to argue. 

Contact Us for a Consultation ASAP

You deserve compensation for your unpaid on-call activities. Aiman-Smith & Marcy is here to see to it that you receive your rightful compensation. We’re a well-known employment law office that has a remarkable reputation and a history of success. We provide risk-free representation to California workers who have been wronged by employers. You may contact us by telephone or a short online form to schedule a meeting to discuss your case.