Do I Need to Pay Employees for Being on Call in Texas?

Many Texas employers have businesses that require their employees to be on call. In other words, employers have workers who are required to be ready and available for work when called on by the employer. If you have on-call employees, or stand-by employees, are you required to pay these employees for the hours they are on call under Texas state or federal law? The answer to that question will depend upon a number of factors, some of which are specific to your business and some of which are specific to the employment circumstances. Our Frisco employment lawyers can provide your business with more information.

General Rules for Paying Employees for On-Call Time

The general rule in Texas is that an employee must be compensated for on-call or stand-by time if the employee cannot “use the on-call time effectively for his or her own purposes,” according to the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) and the Fifth Circuit. Anytime on-call or stand-by time requires the employee to perform actual work, then the on-call or stand-by time is always compensable, and the employer must pay the employee.

There are other circumstances in which on-call or stand-by pay also may be required, such as:

  • Your employees are in a union and have a collective bargaining agreement that requires pay for on-call time.
  • You have a workplace policy of paying for on-call time (in which case the policy must apply evenly and fairly).
  • Your employee has an employment contract in which you agree to pay for on-call time.

Nonexempt On-Call Employees Must Also Receive Overtime Pay When Appropriate

When employees are required to be paid for on-call or stand-by work, it is critical to know that you must account for overtime pay requirements under the FLSA for nonexempt employees. To be clear, if you are required to pay an employee for on-call time and the on-call hour(s) result in a nonexempt employee working more than 40 hours during the workweek, then the employee must be paid for time and one-half for any hours beyond the 40-hour workweek, even if those additional hours are on-call or stand-by hours.

Certain Texas Agencies are Authorized to Provide Stand-By Pay

Finally, certain Texas agencies are authorized to pay for on-call or stand-by hours. Specifically, the Texas Facilities Commission and the Texas Department of Transportation are authorized to compensate employees for on-call or stand-by time at specific rates. Employees who work for one of these agencies can be paid for one hour of work for every day they are on call during a normal work week, and for two hours for every day they are on call during a weekend or a holiday. These “credits” are in addition to work that the employees actually perform when they are on call and during their normal hours. If any of these employees are nonexempt employees and the work credits result in a workweek of more than 40 hours, then the employee also must be paid overtime.

Seek Advice from a Frisco Employment Lawyer

When you have questions about your obligations and responsibilities as an employer, you should seek advice from our Frisco employment law attorneys. We can ensure that you are in compliance with state and federal law. Contact Simon Paschal PLLC for more information.

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