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Management: We won't pay for 'on-call' emergency work

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in The HR Specialist Forum

Question: Management recently told all my organization’s non-exempt employees that they would no longer be paid for coming in for “on call” emergency situations. There would be no need to clock in as it will be considered “volunteered” time. The time can’t be credited to comp time either. This seems illegal to me all around. Anyone have any thoughts on this?—T.A., Iowa


Check Federal and State regulations on "on-call" work. The 'not to clock in" is already a bad sign, how would you know who was there, in the event of an accident how do you account for the person's presence? Who "volunteers"? Non-exempt are paid for all hours worked. This is work time, regardless of it being an emergency. What is the logic behind "volunteered work"? Some states even require pay just for being on call, and not for actually having to show for to the emergency.

I agree. Check the laws for your state. Check with all insurance provider's as well. Some may not cover employee's who "aren't there" if an accident happens. That may leave the company liable. Worker's Comp laws might also have something to say about the issue. My question is.. if it's "volunteer time" and you choose not to go, does it affect performance evals and promotions? This seems wrong ethically.

You're absolutely right. This is illegal. If an employee is non-exempt, any time worked must be paid according to the FLSA. This seems like an attempt by your company to avoid paying overtime. Sarah also mentioned a very important issue with worker's comp too. This would create a nightmare if an employee was injured while on "volunteer time".

Non exempt employees MUST BE PAID

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