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Total Articles: 9

Should Gig Workers Earn “On-Call” Pay? Federal Court Agrees To Examine Issue

The legal theories that are being lobbed at Uber in wage-hour lawsuits across the country show no signs of letting up. Earlier this year, a group of certified limousine drivers in Eastern Pennsylvania who provide services through Uber’s “luxury” UberBLACK platform filed a FLSA suit for unpaid wages, including a claim that they were owed wages for on-call time while they were logged into the Uber app. Last week, in a colorful opinion that references Mozart’s “Magic Flute” and Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” a federal judge green-lighted plaintiffs’ theory and ordered “expedited discovery” on the issue of compensability of the plaintiffs’ on-call time.

On-Call Scheduling Under Attack

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently released its annual report on productivity and costs for the retail trade industry, and there’s good news and bad news for retailers. The good news is that, for 2014, productivity in the retail trade was up 1.9% overall. The bad news is that compensation rose by a higher percentage than productivity over the same time period, leading to increased labor costs. Simply put, while retail employees are doing more in the time they work, that increase in productivity comes with a cost.

Fashioning Employee Schedules: Employees Question Compensation Practices

Technological advancements have impacted employee scheduling in certain industries. Notably, employers with access to real-time data that suggest the level of expected business on any given day may require employees to be “on call.” But, in a recent lawsuit against clothing retailer Forever 21, employees allege they’ve been subjected to “exploitative” scheduling practices regarding so-called “on call” shifts. Comparable suits have recently been filed against other fashion retailers like Victoria’s Secret and BCBG Max Azria, regarding similar policies.

Quick Quiz Answer: Pay For Being In On-Call Status

The answer to our September 22, 2014 Quick Quiz is, "Yes, even though the payments are not tied to the on-call hours he works." In declining percentage order, the responses were:

Quick Quiz: Pay For Being In On-Call Status

Chris is a non-exempt computer Help Desk employee. During one workweek of each calendar quarter, after his normal shift ends he leaves his workplace but is on-call for eight hours a day for each of seven days. On average, Chris gets two calls in a seven-day on-call period and spends a total of about two hours on the phone or on his laptop dealing with the matters that prompted the calls.

Quick Quiz: "On Call" Time Under The FLSA

Alan is a Help Desk Associate for The Big Corporation. He is subject to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act's minimum-wage, overtime, and timekeeping requirements.

Compensability Of On-Call Time

Work in the healthcare industry is unpredictable, and patient care is provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ceiling leaks, staff illnesses, and patient emergencies can't be contained to the normal day-time work hours. As a result, many employers have on-call policies and procedures that allow them to effectively respond to off-hours demands.

Those "Bleeping" Beepers: On-Call Disputes Creating More Litigation Dangers.

Blackberries, cell phones and pagers – are they a source of freedom and flexibility or are they just too darned restrictive? The question is not just a philosophical one. From a practical standpoint, many employers are learning that the wrong answer could be costly.

On-Call Hours Must Be Attributed to Week in Which Hours Occurred for Purpose of Overtime Pay.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that overtime compensation be paid at a rate of not less than one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay of all hours worked in excess of 40 during a particular workweek. Recently, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division responded to a request for an opinion on whether compensation for “on-call” time in a specific week may be averaged over a two week pay period for purposes of computing the regular rate of pay on which employees’ overtime wages were based during the entire pay period. In response, the DOL informed the employer that an employee’s regular rate of pay must be computed on a workweek basis, and that payment for on-call time must be attributed to the specific workweek that included the on-call assignment. Wage and Hour Opinion Letter, FLSA 2008-6, 9/22/08 (released 11/14/08).
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