Standby time pay ?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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Standby time pay ?

I’m a plumber tech and am on-call during the week between 8 am-5 pm. My company allows us to do personal activities if no work is provided but we are to respond right away and be at the job site within 2 hours. Let’s say that I didn’t have anything for 6 hours call comes in at 3 pm what happens to those other 6 hours if I’m just getting paid of job only takes an hour? I was hired as a full-time just seems like its becoming part-time

Asked on August 15, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There are three different issues here:
1) Stand-by pay--if you are free to do personal activities and to go where you want so long as you can respond within 2 hours, which is enough time to be socializing, shopping, sleeping, doing chores, exercising, etc., then that is not work time. You have more than sufficient freedom to do what you want that this is not time you have to be paid for--it's your time.
2) Can your employer change you to part time or otherwise reduce your hours? Yes, unless you had a written contract guarantying your hours. When there is no written contract, you are an "employee at will" and your employer has 100% control over your hours.
3) You should be paid for your time from the moment you get in your truck or car to get to the customer to when you get back home (assuming you drive straight back home; or if not, you could get return travel time equal to how long it would take you). Your drive time to/from your work or job site is work time.

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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