Is it legal to require on call shifts and not be paid?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to require on call shifts and not be paid?

I am a server at a busy restaurant in California.
Every week one of my scheduled shifts is to
call the restaurant at 3 pm to see if i have to
come into work. We do not get paid for this on-
call time, but we are expected to be available
to come into work within one hour if the
manager decides he needs us. Is this legal?

Asked on March 18, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

It is perfectly legal: the law allows employers to require employees to be on-call and come in at need and does *not* require that the employees be paid for being "on call"--they only have to be paid if they are actually called in and work. The fact that it imposes some inconvenience on you (e.g. about what you can do or where you can go) is not enough to turn this into "work" time that you must be paid for.

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