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IT pro on call... even during vacations??

By JodyGilbert ·
In response to our recent request for descriptions of workplace issues, one member told us about a situation that may be all too familiar to many of you. We reproduced the member's note below so that you can share your reactions, advice, commiseration, legal insights, ideas for changing the boss's expectations, coping strategies, etc. Thanks to all who participate.
--Jody Gilbert, TechRepublic Editor

The member writes: My problem is related to being "on call" during holidays, vacation days, sick days, etc.

My boss will remind me to keep my cell phone on during vacations! There are days when I can spend hours on phone support while I'm "on vacation". This is grueling because I never truly "get away from it all". I've actually been called on the carpet for being out of range during a holiday weekend (I went camping).

I am salaried, but I would think that paid time off isn't considered time off if I'm "on call". Is this legal?

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Know your rights

by JamesRL In reply to IT pro on call... even du ...

Labour laws due vary from one place to another, but in most North American jurisdictions, there is no legal basis for being asked to been available during vacations - thats counter intuitive.

Even salaried people can and should get extra compensation for working on pager -I know I used to(I sit here as a manager who just took over my staff members pager so that they can take a statutory holiday on Monday).

Sane companies realise that people need a work life balance - if they don't, I would think about finding some place to work that values you as an individual.


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I"ve run into this myself

by stress junkie In reply to IT pro on call... even du ...

For a legal opinion try this URL:

On the personal side I've been in similar situations. Some places I've told my manager in advance that I was going to the Bahamas for vacation. Other times I would just turn off the pager. Then if I was called on the carpet when I returned to work I'd just stand there until the rant was over and then go back to my job. So my atitude is basically "screw them".

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It's one of the joys of working IT in a small company

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to IT pro on call... even du ...

While unfortunate it is just a fact of life when you work IT in a small business where you are the resident expert on all things silicon related. You could always consider moving to a larger company but then again you would in all likelihood loose the perks that come with the Small business as well. There are always pro's and con's in any job and in small business this is just one as the business just can not afford to be without their computers as it costs them too much and in severe cases can even bankrupt them.

So all in all you have two options either put up with it and enjoy your job or move on to a different place where there are more IT staff and you can get away from it all.

But do not bother in contacting a lawyer to get your rights as it will only involve a lot of trouble and the possible loss of your job in a Bad Blood way which will make it that much harder to get another job.

If you want holidays and time away from the job your only option is to leave your current job and go somewhere else bigger. You have to understand it from the companies point of view as well being small and lean they just need you. This is something that will never happen in a bigger company and while it might not be to your liking it is just a fact of life.


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by haileyan In reply to IT pro on call... even du ...

If you are a one man show it is hard. If you are the sole IT person you have 2 options. One, accept the fact that you are the go-to guy and you have to support your system. Two, create a good relationship with an integrator. Make sure that they are available to assist your office when out of town.

There is an Option 3. That would be to look for different work. I however think it is better for you and your office to have a local integrator on hand for emergencies while out of town. They would only call if you did not have something documented.

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