On-Call Pay

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If an employee who is “on call” is free to use the time as he or she pleases, not confined to home or any particular place but required only to leave word where he or she may be reached, the hours spent “on call” generally are not regarded as working time. The FLSA does not require any compensation for carrying a beeper or being on call. However, if the employer chooses to pay the employee for this non-working time, the payment must be included in the employee’s regular rate of pay even though it is not attributable to any specific hours worked.[1] For example, an employee is paid $8.00 an hour for 40 hours of work and is paid $25.00 for being on call over the weekend. If the employee is called back for four hours of work over the weekend, the employee’s regular rate would be computed as follows: the employee’s total straight time pay is $320.00 (40 hours x $8.00) plus $25.00 “on call” pay plus $32.00 for four weekend hours of work, or $377.00. Dividing the employee’s total earnings of $377.00 by 44 hours of work yields a regular rate of $8.57 for the employee. One-half the regular rate ($4.29) times four overtime hours equals $17.16 of overtime pay due the employee, making the total pay due the employee $394.16 for the week.

[1]   See 29 C.F.R. § 778.223.