The term on-call time refers to a requirement whereby employees must remain at their work location, or stay home, so they can be quickly reached and asked to work. An employee on-call may be required to provide their employer with a telephone number or leave a message indicating where they can be reached.
Employees may be asked to remain on-call as part of their normal responsibilities, or they may be asked to remain on-call during emergencies. Placing an employee on-call allows employers to quickly reach an employee when emergent work arises.
Generally, when an employee is asked to remain on-call at their work location, or one of their employer's work locations, they are entitled to on-call pay. This is sometimes referred to as working while on-call.
Alternatively, an employee may be asked to remain at home, or leave their supervisor with a number where they can be reached. This is referred to as "not working while on-call." The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not require employers to compensate employees when they are not working on-call. Whether or not an employee is entitled to on-call pay when not working depends on several factors:
Companies are permitted to provide compensation beyond that required by law. If the legality of a company's pay policy is called into question, the best course of action is to consult with an experienced labor attorney.