Time On the Clock – Waiting Time, On-Call Time, Travel Time

on call, waiting

The Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division gets specific about what is and what isn’t considered work time. The hours which employees spend waiting, being on call, and traveling is all compensable time even when it may seem the employee is not actually “working.”

Waiting Time
There are occasions when an employee is waiting around and not actually doing any work. While it may seem as though employees shouldn’t get paid to sit around, some types of waiting time must be paid.

Waiting hours must be paid when the length of waiting time is not long enough for an employee to engage in his or her own activities. For example, if an employee has to wait for equipment to be fixed while at work and cannot reasonably go home or out to lunch in the meantime, he needs to be paid to stand around and wait. Or, if the employee needs work related medical attention, the employee must be paid for the waiting time.

“For example, a secretary who reads a book while waiting for dictation or a fireman who plays checkers while waiting for an alarm is working during such periods of inactivity.” – dol.gov

Travel Time
Time spent traveling from one job site to another is time that should be paid by the employer. Time spent running work-related errands also falls under this category.

On-Call Time
Time on-call while on the employer’s premises is time the employee should be paid, even if he is doing nothing other than waiting for a call. On-call time which is away from the place of employment but involves “constraints on the employee’s freedom” also needs to be paid.

Training and Meetings
Mandatory training or education courses are compensable if they are not-voluntary and they are job related. When meetings do not fall within regular working hours they need to be paid (in cash, not in pizza!)

How to Set Up Different Pay Rates and Account Codes for Different Tasks
All of these categories can be listed as a different work/account code and they can all be assigned different pay rates. The Timesheets.com software makes it really easy to keep track of different types of work and pay employees accordingly.

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