Some employers need to have employees on call so they can have them report in for work when they’re needed. From a federal standpoint, employees are only considered on-call if they have to remain at the place of business. California law provides a bit more protection for employees.
According to California’s Wage Order 7, employers must pay “reporting time pay” for employees who are told to report to work even if they aren’t ultimately put to work. The issue with the law is that it doesn’t clearly denote what it means to report for work.
Both sides of the story
Some employers argue that “on-call” shifts only occur when an employee shows up to the workplace. Employees argue that when they’re on-call for work, they can’t make other plans.
A case in 2019 set a sort of precedent for on-call situations in which employers schedule workers for on-call shifts but then have them call in prior to the start of the shift to see if they’re needed. An employee took legal action claiming that having to call in two hours before the start of the shift was impeding on their life in a way that they should have been paid for their on-call time.
The court sided with the workers, noting that it was very limiting to have to call in a mere two hours before a shift to find out if the worker had to come in. It further opined that the employees should be paid reporting time pay even if they didn’t have to work that day.
If you think that you’re not being paid what you’re due, be sure that you know your rights. Employees shouldn’t have to deal with being shortchanged on their wages. Taking legal action could help you to recover the wages that you should have received.