UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022
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Hello. I am currently working for a hotel that closes at night and we have after
hours services for check ins and emergencies. I am required to carry a phone with
me at all times during these hours. I am given a 30 minute response window, which
would fall well within the ‘waiting to be engaged’ portion of On-Call work.
However, the phone I am given is a portable phone that essentially confines me to
the property. It has a range of maybe 500 ft. Would this be enough to qualify me
for ‘Engaged to Wait’, and would I have a case to get lost wages?
Asked on July 7, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Florida
SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney
Answered 6 years ago | Contributor
The key factor is the short range of phone you have been given. If you are confined to the property or its immediate environs (e.g. the bar or cafe next door), even if that confinement is not a stated rule but rather flows from the practicalities of the situation, then this is most likely work time and you may be entitled to be paid for it, including potentially back wages. If they let you use a regular cell phone that would be different: you could more-or-less go about your regular routine or business and it would not be work time. But when an employer restricts an employee to the job- or worksite, the time limited to the workplace is generally considered compensible work time. You may wish to contact the state department of labor about possibly filing a complaint.
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