On-call work may entitle employees to overtime pay

If employees in Tennessee or any other state are asked to be on-call for their employers, they may be entitled to overtime pay. This depends on how many hours they work during the rest of the week and how much time is spent working while on-call. Generally speaking, employees are considered to be working if they are not able to pursue personal activities during a certain period of time.

In one case, a nurse was on-call for 48 hours on alternate weekends from 8 a.m. Saturday until 8 a.m. on Monday. She performed a variety of tasks for 25.4 of those 48 hours on average such as answering calls and visiting patients. These were hours spent working in addition to those accumulated during the normal workweek. Furthermore, the hospital where she worked had made the position nonexempt, which meant that it was eligible for overtime pay.

A court found that the on-call hours should be considered compensable time because she was paid a rate of $36 per hour. Furthermore, the court found that by changing the position to nonexempt without changing the nurse's job description, the hospital had been willfully avoiding paying overtime wages. When considering all the facts together, it ruled that she should be given overtime pay for all her hours over 40 per week.

Those who are denied overtime despite working more than 40 hours in a week may be victims of employment law violations. An attorney could gather evidence such as pay stubs or statements from management that verify a worker's claim. If an employer has committed an overtime violation, he or she may be entitled to back pay and other damages. Overtime wages are set at 150 percent of a worker's normal wage during a given workweek.

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