Can my work force me to be on-call without pay?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can my work force me to be on-call without pay?

I been a maintenance supervisor for 6 years now; 3.5 years with one company going on 2.5 with my current company. I’ve responded to over 95% of on-call responses in that time. Last week I missed a on-call call due to personal time with family and was talked to by director. At that time, she mentioned that the other supervisor was on vacation and I needed to be on-call that weekend. I told her that work a second job on weekends and would be unavailable. Now I fear retaliation. Again a talk this morning I explained to her that I was on voluntary on-call basis and not paid.

Asked on August 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You do not need to be paid when on-call; you only have to be paid when you specifically respond or work. An employer therefore can require you to be on-call without pay for being on-call, and again, just pay you if/when you respond. If you refuse to be on-call when they want you to be, or to respond when called, you can be discriplined, suspended, or even terminated.
Note that the above assumes you are an hourly employee, and so must be paid for all time worked. If you are salaried, your weekly salary is your *total* compensation for all time worked during a week, so not only does your employer not need to pay you for being on-call, they do not need to pay you for responding or working.

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