Am I supposed to be paid for the off clock telephone calls?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Am I supposed to be paid for the off clock telephone calls?

I’m the desk supervisor paid hourly at a hotel. I received a phone call at 9:45 pm that lasted an hour; it was in relation to a problem at the hotel. I added the hour on my time sheet which my manager tried to erase saying you’re not getting paid for that. It’s part of your job never explained to me that I would go unpaid for additional work but I’ll let it slide this once. I did ask how will I be compensated and he retailiated stated I’m not for answering your calls on my day off he’s salary. Am I in the wrong?

Asked on June 25, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

If you are an hourly employee (i.e. not salaried) as you are, you have to be paid for all work you do--including taking work-related phone calls--whether it is done "off the clock" or not: an employer  cannot make you do work but then not pay simply because it was not during normal work hours. Rather, under the labor laws, you must be paid for all work you do, no matter when or where (e.g. a phone call taken at home). 
(As a practical matter, "de minimis," or trivial, amounts of time spent after hours do not need to be tracked or paid, such as a 1 - 2 minute phone call or answering a short email. Because it takes more time/effort to track and pay such small amounts than the time is worth, the law allows employers to not pay for de minimis time.)
If this becomes an issue, you could contact the state department of labor to file a wage and hour complaint; they can help you get compensation for your after-hours work.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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