Many employees in Massachusetts are “on-call” outside of their regular working hours, which means that they must be available to work if called upon by their employer. Both employees and employers need to understand whether on-call time is compensable under Massachusetts law. We explain whether employees are entitled to compensation for on-call time and what factors are considered in determining compensation.
What is On-Call Time? On-call time refers to the time that an employee is required to be available to work, but is not actively working. This can include time spent waiting for a call, time spent traveling to the job site, or time spent sleeping at the job site.
Compensability of On-Call Time: Whether on-call time is compensable under Massachusetts law depends on various factors, including:
- Control: The level of control the employer has over the employee during on-call time.
- Restrictions on Activities: The extent to which the employee’s activities are restricted during on-call time.
- Frequency of Calls: The frequency and nature of calls the employee receives during on-call time.
- Geographic Restrictions: The extent to which the employee is restricted in their ability to leave the job site during on-call time.
- Duration of On-Call Time: The length of time that the employee is required to be on-call.
Factors such as the degree of control the employer has over the employee during on-call time, whether the employee is required to remain on the employer’s premises, and the extent to which the employee is able to use on-call time for their own personal purposes are all considered in determining whether on-call time is compensable.
Consequences of Non-Compensation: If an employer does not properly compensate its employees for on-call time, it may owe unpaid wages, interest, and attorneys’ fees. In addition, the employer may be subject to penalties and fines for violating Massachusetts wage and hour laws.
Enforcing Your Rights: If you believe that you have not been properly compensated for on-call time, you may be able to file a complaint with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and seek legal representation to pursue your rights and remedies.
If you are an employee in Massachusetts who is required to be on-call and you have questions about your entitlement to compensation, it is important to speak with an experienced employment attorney. Contact us today for a case evaluation and learn more about your rights and options under Massachusetts and federal law. Similarly, if you are an employer who wants to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations regarding compensation for on-call time, it is important to consult with an experienced employment attorney.