Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Does On-Call Mean for Work?
It means that you are available for work but may or may not actually have to do any work. You are on ‘standby’ in the event of available work. This has led to a lot of legal uncertainty as many workers are being affected by On-Call work policies, without getting any work or remuneration. So, they are never truly off of work, but at the same time may not get any remuneration.
How Does On-Call Pay Work?
This will largely be a function of the unique employment contract. Many employers prefer to pay employees a base On-Call wage with an extra wage for hours worked. Typically, On-Call works just like any other form of payment. It will be processed by the typical payment processor. When you are called into work, then these hours will be logged similar to the typical working hours.
Should You Be Paid for Being On-Call?
That depends entirely on the quality of On-Call work you are engaging in. As previously stated, if the On-Call work requires you to be on the premises and restrictions your movements, then you will be paid for being On-Call. Technically, in this instance, you are not actually On-Call from a legal perspective. You are at work, regardless of the terms used by the employer. If you are being denied access to typical leisure activities, then you are no On-Call – you are at work. Whether or not you should be paid for being On-Call depends on how restricted you are.
What Do I Do if My Boss Is Making Me Work On-Call?
A contract of employment is a legal agreement between the employer and the employee. Its terms cannot lawfully be changed or varied by the employer without agreement from the employee. Where a trade union is recognized, negotiations to change contract terms should be through collective bargaining. Your employer owes an implied contractual duty to explain clearly the effect of any change, such as a change to wages or working hours. Your employer has to meet with you and explain their case for making the proposed change. You must be given time to consider the proposal as well as to suggest alternative ways of achieving the same result.
How Can I Avoid Legal Disputes in Relation to On-Call Work?
As always, the first step is to ensure that the workers are communicated with. All workers must know what to expect from On-Call. You will also want to monitor how many times the On-Call workers get communicated with. If it is more than once every 30 minutes, then it is close to full-time work, and you will need to consider paying them a wage. If you are forcing employees to remain on or near the premises while On-Call, then you are raising the chances of liability by a huge amount. This can often amount to a restriction. Have a clear policy in place and monitor the frequency of calls. Provided you do your research, then you can avoid any kind of legal dispute.
What Is the Difference Between On-Call and Freelance Workers?
On-Call workers can do as they wish but have certain restrictions. The main one is that they are near a phone or computer so they can be alerted to work as it arises. An On-Call worker is typically a full or part-time employee that is also available for On-Call work on certain weekends. A freelancer, in contrast, will have a certain project that needs to be done in a certain timeframe. Freelancers are often required when a particular project comes up. When complete, the business will not re-engage in the services. Business owners are under no requirements to pay any entitlements to freelancers, who are independent contracts and not technically employees. In contrast, there are far more requirements for business owners with On-Call workers.
Do I Have to Give Sick Pay to Zero-Hour Workers?
You only have to give sick pay to zero-hour workers in the UK if they have earned more than £960 for you in the past 8 weeks while doing some actual work. They must have been sick for longer than 4 days in a row to claim. Zero hour employees can claim £95 a week in Statutory Sick Pay for up to 28 weeks. They cannot claim if they are already on Statutory Maternity Leave (‘SML’).
What Is the Difference Between On-Call and Call-In Pay?
Call-in is where the employee is called into work but there is no work there to do. Only 8 states have addressed the call-in issue with legislation and guidelines. These states are California, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Oregon, District of Columbia, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts. This is known by various names in different states, such as ‘wages for failure to furnish shift work’ (Rhode Island), ‘show-up-pay’ (Oregon), or ‘minimum daily earnings,’ (Connecticut). Typically, the employee will be entitled to between 2 and 4 hours of work or half the scheduled amount.

About the Author

Daniel Lewis

Daniel Lewis

MBA accredited investment professional

Daniel Lewis is an MBA accredited investment professional who wants to assist small business owners to gain access to finance.

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