Court Makes New Pay Rules for On-Call Workers


Employers with on-call workers who have to phone in to check on a scheduled shift are now required to pay them reporting pay, a California appellate court has ruled. The court held in the precedent-setting case of Ward vs. Tilly’s, Inc. that an employee scheduled for an on-call shift may be entitled to partial wages for that shift despite never physically reporting to work. The case hinged on what’s known as “reporting pay.”

DEFINITION OF ‘REPORTING PAY’

California’s Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) has wage orders that require employers to pay workers who show up for a shift and then are told they won’t be working the scheduled shift.
Under the wage orders, an employer has to pay an employee who is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or works less than half their usual or scheduled day’s work. Reporting pay is a minimum of two hours’ pay and a maximum of four hours.

THE CASE

In the Ward vs. Tilly’s, Inc. case, employees were required to phone in to see if they would be working that day. The plaintiff in the case said that he was owed reporting pay because calling in to see if he was scheduled was essentially the same as showing up at work and being told he didn’t have to work that day, as per the IWC’s wage orders.

The appellate court on Feb. 4, 2019, upheld a lower court’s ruling that had sided with the plaintiff. It’s unclear whether the defendant will appeal the case to the California Supreme Court, but until that time and up to any potential decision, the ruling stands.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR EMPLOYERS

Previously, reporting pay was limited to those employees who physically reported to work. Now, any employee that has to call in to check on a scheduled shift will be due half of the wages they would have earned by working the shift they were on call for. The amount of reporting pay is based on the number of hours the employee normally works.

EXAMPLE: Justin, an on-call worker, is usually scheduled for six-hour shifts. When he called in on Wednesday, he was told he did not need to come into work that day. Based on the appellate court ruling, Justin must receive up to one-half of his scheduled shift, or three hours’ pay.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
  • Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of retaining or keeping on-call status for employees.
  • If you have on-call workers, update your employee handbook to reflect the new policy.
  • If any of your workers were on call and were told not to work a shift after the Feb. 4 court ruling, you should pay them for the reporting pay they are owed.

Attention !

Coronavirus – Mindful Insurance Remote Work Arrangements

At Mindful Insurance Solutions, our top priority has always been to deliver best-in-class service to our clients.  We chose the name “Mindful” precisely to be “present and willing to do something” with our clients, and that’s what we always strive to be—present with you in your business.

To ensure that we remain true to our name during the current coronavirus pandemic, we are taking every precaution possible to protect the health and safety of our team and their families.

Therefore, in line with much of the rest of the country, as of today, our team will work remotely, and our physical office locations will be closed.

For now, our plan is to maintain remote work arrangements for as long as local authorities require or medical experts advise.  We will closely monitor the situation to determine when we can return to our normal office procedures. The good news is that our technological capability enables everyone on our team to work seamlessly from remote locations. During this period, we will continue to be readily accessible to you. Your emails and phone calls/voicemails will be answered as per usual, and our Mindful Insurance professionals will work to meet your needs in all the ways you have come to expect from us.

We understand that insurance is a people-oriented industry, and Mindful prides itself on being a people-oriented company.  But while there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, it is prudent to curtail such interaction as much as possible until things return to normal.  Therefore, Mindful also stands ready to interact with you via remote video/teleconferencing as desired.

These extraordinary steps are necessary to preserve the health of our team and to help curtail the spread of the virus, while upholding our commitment to you, our clients.  On behalf of the entire Mindful team, I want to thank you for your understanding and support during these challenging times.  We wish you, your families and your teams much good health.

In your service, stay healthy and safe,

William Donaldson President / CEO


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