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July 13, 2010
Compensating for On-Call and Waiting Time

In a BLR webinar entitled "Off-the-Clock? How to Determine When Time Worked is Compensable Under Federal Law," Catherine Moreton Gray, Esq., an associate at Robinson and Cole LLP described the scenarios under which on-call and wait time should or should not be considered work time.

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With respect to on-call time:

  • On-call time is work time if the employee's time is so restricted it can't be used for personal activities.
  • Simply carrying pagers, cell phones or other mobile devices when on call does not make it work time.

With respect to waiting time:

  • Employees who are on duty and waiting to be assigned work are working.
  • When time is controlled by the employer and the wait is relatively short, e.g., employees chat while a machine is fixed or while work is readied, it is work time.
  • If employees are relieved of duty for a period of time and told when to return, generally it is not work time.

Catherine Moreton Gray, Esq. is an associate at Robinson and Cole LLP ( She has more than 20 years experience in human resources and employment law. Her practice is focused on advising employers on all aspects of the employment relationship, including representing employers in government audits, before administrative agencies and in federal and state courts.

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