California on call pay requirements


What is “call pay?”

“Call pay” is the compensation an employer must pay an employee for being “on call.” The required pay depends on whether the employee is salaried or hourly.

If the employee is salaried, then the employee must be paid his or her regular salary for any week in which the employee works less than 40 hours, regardless of whether the employee is placed “on call.”

If the employee is hourly, then the employee must be paid for all hours spent on call, even if those hours are spent sleeping or performing other personal activities. In addition, if the employee is required to be available to work during a meal period or rest period, then the employer must pay an additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of pay.

What are the requirements for call pay in California?

California law requires that employees be paid for all time spent working, including time spent on call. If an employee is required to be on call, the employer must pay the employee for all time spent on call, regardless of whether the employee is actually working.

Employees must be “on call” for more than 50% of their shift

In order to be considered “on call” for purposes of California law, employees must be required to remain on the employer’s premises or so close thereto that they cannot use the time effectively for their own purposes. Employees who are not required to do either of those things are not considered “on call” and are therefore not entitled to additional compensation.

There is no hard and fast rule as to how much time an employee must spend on call in order to trigger the requirement for additional compensation. However, the general rule of thumb is that employees must be on call for more than 50% of their shift in order to be entitled to additional pay.

There are some exceptions to this general rule. For example, if an employee is regularly scheduled to work more than eight hours in a day, the employee may be considered “on call” even if he or she is only required to remain on the premises for less than 50% of the shift.

The same is true for employees who are regularly scheduled to work shifts that span more than one day (e.g., two 12-hour shifts). In such cases, the employee may be considered “on call” even if he or she is only required to remain on the premises for less than 50% of each individual shift.

Employees must be able to leave the workplace to take a meal or rest break


Employees in California must be able to take a meal or rest break, and employers must pay for certain types of on-call shifts.

Meal Breaks: Employees must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes for every 5 hours worked. The meal break can be waived if the employee works no more than 6 hours in a shift.

Rest Breaks: Employees must be given a 10-minute rest break for every 4 hours worked.

On-Call Shifts: Employers must pay employees for on-call shifts if the employee is not free to leave the workplace or make personal arrangements during that time.

How is call pay calculated?

California law requires that employees be paid for all hours worked, including any time spent on call. The amount of call pay you receive depends on how much notice you are given before being required to be on call. If you are given more than 24 hours notice, you must be paid your regular hourly rate for the entire shift. If you are given less than 24 hours notice, you must be paid one hour of call pay at your regular hourly rate.

Employees are paid their regular hourly rate for the first hour they are “on call”

In addition to their regular hourly wage, employees are paid one hour of call pay at their regular hourly wage rate for each day they are required to be “on call.” For example, if an employee is scheduled to work from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., but is told to be “on call” from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., the employee would be entitled to one hour of call pay in addition to their regular wages for that day.

After the first hour, employees are paid an additional 1/8 of their regular hourly rate for each additional hour they are “on call”

After the first hour, employees are paid an additional 1/8 of their regular hourly rate for each additional hour they are “on call.” For example, if an employee is regularly paid $10 per hour, the employee would be paid $12.50 per hour after the first on-call hour.

Are there any exceptions to the call pay requirements?

California labor laws requires that employees who are on call must be paid for at least half of their shift, even if they are not called in. There are a few exceptions to this rule, however. If the employee is free to leave the property, or if the employee is able to sleep, then they are not entitled to call pay.

Employees who are “on call” for less than 24 hours

There are a few exceptions to the general rule that an employee must be paid for being “on call.” If an employee is “on call” for less than 24 hours, the employer does not have to pay the employee for any of that time unless the employee is actually required to work during that period.

Employees who are “on call” but are not required to remain on the employer’s premises


An employee who is required to remain on call on the employer’s premises or so close thereto that he or she cannot use the time effectively for his or her own purposes is working while “on call.” The employee must be paid for all such time.

An employee who is not required to remain on the employer’s premises but is merely required to leave word at his or her home or with company officials where he or she may be reached is not working while on call and, therefore, is not entitled to compensation for such time. However, this does not mean that an employee may never be paid for time spent on call when away from the employer’s premises. If an employee is unable to use the time effectively for his or her own purposes because of restrictions imposed by the employer, then the employee may be working while on call and entitled to compensation. For example, an employee of a public utility who is “on call” away from work must leave word at home as to where he or she can be reached in case of emergency. The question of whether this employee is working while on call and entitled to compensation will depend upon all of the circumstances under which the utility imposes its restrictions.

What are the penalties for violating the call pay requirements?

If an employer is found to have violated the call pay requirements, they may be subject to penalties. These penalties can include civil penalties of up to $5,000 for each violation, as well as possible criminal charges.

Employers who violate the call pay requirements are subject to a civil penalty of $50 for each violation, plus restitution to the affected employees

In addition, the Labor Commissioner may assess a civil penalty of up to $5000 against an employer for each violation that causes death or serious injury of an employee, as well as restitution to the affected employee.


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