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Off Duty, On Duty, and On-Call — Apex Employee Wages Lawyer

Employees are entitled to compensation when “on duty.” This can be difficult to define since employees can be “on duty” if when inactive. For example, truck drivers who have to wait near the job site for goods to be loaded on his truck would be on duty, even though he is not actually working. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides that an employee remains on duty when periods of inactivity are of short duration or are unpredictable because the employee is unable to use the time effectively for their own purposes.

Employees do not need to be paid for “off duty” hours. An employee is off duty when they can leave the job and will not have to resume activities until a specified time. To be off duty, the break time must be long enough so that the employee can use it effectively for their own purposes. Therefore, if the truck driver is completely relieved from his duties until several hours later in the day and does not perform additional work, that time is off duty hours, and does not need to be compensated.

The same general principles apply for employees “on-call.” Unless an employee is required to remain on-call on the employer’s premises or within a fixed geographic location, the on-call hours are not compensable under the FLSA. Courts look to whether the restriction on an employee’s movements is significantly impeded. As an example, a doctor who must remain within a two mile radius of his employer’s hospital should be paid for that time because his movements are significantly impeded. However, a tow-truck driver who has free range of travel within a community is probably not working while on-call and does not need to be compensated.

To determine if you should be compensated for the work you are performing, contact the employment attorneys at Maginnis Law. Maginnis Law, PLLC is an unpaid wage and overtime law firm that represents employees who were not properly compensated. Contact an unpaid wage and overtime lawyer at 919.960.1545 for a free consultation regarding your rights or submit a confidential new case inquiry here. Maginnis Law, PLLC is a Raleigh firm handling employment cases dealing with unpaid wages and overtime throughout Wake County, Cary, Apex, Durham, Vance County, and Henderson. The firm takes certain wage and hour/overtime cases throughout North Carolina, particularly when groups of workers are involved. Contact the firm to discuss your overtime claim today.