If you have employees on call, you know how complicated paying them can be. But now at least one area of the law is fairly clear.
A recent decision in a class-action case held that if employees report to their regular workplace in response to a call, they aren’t entitled to extra pay for their trip time. That counts as regular commuting time—which is always unpaid.
Your organization can take advantage of this rule only if the employees report directly to their regular workplace first. If you send them to another location (such as a customer’s property), then you must pay for the travel time.
Recent case: A group of employees sued Exelon Corporation, alleging various Fair Labor Standards Act () violations. One of their complaints was that when they were on call and required to respond to emergencies, the company didn’t pay them for the time it took to get from their homes back to their workplace. However, they did get paid for time spent going from the workplace to the emergency.
The district court dismissed that part of their class-action lawsuit. It ruled that responding to a call that required going back to the regular workplace was no different than coming to work in the morning and returning home in the evening. It was their commute, which is unpaid time. (Jonites, et al., v. Exelon Corporation, No. 05-C-4234, ND IL, 2007)