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Should you accept work calls without pay when you’re off-duty?

On Behalf of | Apr 7, 2021 | Wage & Hour Litigation

Imagine being someone who is on an hourly wage. You’re in charge of an entire department, but you are only paid to take calls and answer questions while you’re at work.

Recently, because of changes to scheduling at work, more and more people are calling you at home. The calls started out being short, just asking a quick question or requesting approval for an action. Then, they started to become more frequent and longer.

At what point should you get paid for getting calls at home?

When you’re taking calls at home and aren’t on salary, it’s time to look into getting paid for them. Businesses handle this in different ways depending on what the employee is okay with. For example, the business might offer a flat rate for taking weekend calls, such as an extra two hours of paid work. This works well for employees if the calls often take less than that amount of time.

Other businesses opt for programs where employees are paid for exactly the amount of work they did. They may take phone records and write down how much time the individual was taking a work call while off the clock. That time could then be added to the person’s time card.

Your employer may be required to pay

Normally, employers are required to pay for work functions done outside of work, like responding to text messages, emails, phone calls and other communications. If an employer has a problem with paying for those communications, then they should let other employees know not to contact certain individuals outside work. For example, if there is a second supervisor available on the clock, they should be the one to take questions and concerns rather than reaching out to the person who is not currently working.

If you believe that your employer has been taking advantage of your time, speak up. Turn in a time sheet with the hours you’ve worked when you were supposed to be off the clock. If they don’t want to pay, then you may be able to make a claim with the help of your attorney.