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Understanding how to handle on-call hours

Employers have to ensure they're paying their employees the proper amounts. One area that often causes some issues is when you have an employee available on-call. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) covers what should happen with these employees. It's imperative that you accurately determine whether employees who are on-call should be paid for those hours or not.

In the most basic sense, the FLSA terms require employees to be paid for on-call hours if they aren't free to go about their daily personal business when they're on call. Things like just having to carry a phone or pager wouldn't necessarily prevent them from doing their own personal duties but having to answer client or employer calls during the on-call hours could impeded on their ability to handle personal tasks.

Typically, the more restrictive the conditions of the on-call hours, the more likely it is that the person should be paid. When an employee is required to be paid for on-call hours, those can push them into overtime pay in some cases. Your company should work to understand exactly how these situations should be handled. Relaying the information to your employees is also a good idea, so they know exactly what to expect when they have to work on-call hours for your company.

There might be times when an employee believes that you handled on-call hours incorrectly. Being able to defend your decision is going to be beneficial to your company in these cases. Ensure that you're doing what you can to protect your company while you care for your employees.

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