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On call compensation

By BigDaddy4 ·
Almost a year after being employed for a small software company ( I'm a System Admin)my company wants me to be on call 24/7. I'm not just talking about a server going down," emergency" helpdesk issues as well. This was never discussed at the interview.

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More of the same

by BigDaddy4 In reply to On call compensation

This in addition to my first posting:
I just want to do what's fair. I'm not opposed to doing it if needed. Part of the reason the company "needs" it is because we're a global company and they don't want to pay for someone abroad.
Is there standard pay for on call or just if your called? If I have to rearrange my life and sleep with a pager I feel that I should be compensated.

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by Tech-type In reply to More of the same

You should be compensated for any over-and-above stated duties. I think it was wrong that your employer didn't mention that task as part of your employment interview. If they won't/don't pay for collateral duties, approach them with an accumulated COMPENSATION-TIME OFF agreement (You have a life too!). That was our solution for this.

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My reply

by BigDaddy4 In reply to Suggestion

I think it wasn't mentioned because it didn't really exist when I started. We're a 2 year old company. I don't think it was anything underhanded on there part. I just think that it's something that came up and they don't know what to do about it.

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How about...

by Tech-type In reply to My reply

JAMES reply was good too. You can't be working 24/7/365 without problems. If COMP-TIME OFF doesn't work for you, and budget prohibits Temp/Part-time hires, have the company accept college/tech school interns. They work for free in their specialty, get real-world experience, and you might find some decent backup or potential hire there.

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Policy varies

by JamesRL In reply to More of the same

from company to company. Most large mulitnationals probably already have a policy in place, check with your HR rep.

The most generous one I've worked with gave me $30 per 8 hour shift on call, and if paged, a minimum 1.5 hours of overtime for responding. Othe companies I have seen pay 30 for the 16 hours, plus the same minimum for being paged.

You also want to define the paging process - who pages you, and for what types of problems. Trust me get it in writing. I've had pages in the middle of the night from project managers who came up with great business ideas that could have easily waited until morning.

You will also have to work out some backup - you cannot be on call 24/7/365. If you are in a multinational company, you should be able to find a peer who you can trade favours with.

Hope that helps.


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by William Shipway In reply to More of the same


There's no reason why the requirements of your job can't change, as long as you agree to being on call. I have found that as long as the compensation is adequate, I can put up with it. However in the places I've worked there has always been one or more people that I shared the duty with, so was not on call for more than a month straight.

On the compensation side, have a look at a discussion on Slashdot from last year:

I recently reviewed my conditions with some others in the industry, and found that almost all people going on call received extra pay. It was usually between 5 and 12 percent on top of their hourly rate, and sometimes included time in lieu or additional payments for the calls received.

But the biggest thing to watch is that you don't get abused. Ensure that there is a criteria for "emergency" so that you don't get calls from people who forget their passwords...


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2nd reply and clarification.

by BigDaddy4 In reply to Compensation

I think that I should clarify a couple of things.
First, I wouldn't be the only one doing it. There would probably be two others.
Secondly, there would be stipulations on what an "emergency" is.
Third,this being said it would be a week or a monthat a time. I don't have an issue with my job changing,our industry cahnges all the time.
The problem is that my boss wants to pay us 20$ an hour "only" if we get called. I think that's crazy.
So I'd have a pager sitting next to my bed glowing and get paid nothing if it doesn't go off. If it does go off, I'm awake, my wife's awake and my 2year old daughter's awake for what? 20$ THAT'S MY PROBLEM!
I thank you all for your reponses I am getting the imput that I had hoped for.

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That was unfair on the company's part

by anishs In reply to More of the same

Whatever was done to u is bad. But if u are able to get an increase in pay(a substantial one at that) then this might prove to be good for u.
And yeah if possible start looking for a better job with a bigger company.

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tune changes aftre you join

by netbroker In reply to More of the same

make sure you stipulate late now what on call measn to you and any compensation changes, so you dont get abused
you go to a global and it could happen if you are understaffed and they intend to stay that way to see what YOU do about it.

rememberif you are hourly in some states and not making the minimum wages for your particualr field (esp. in high tech) and you wear a pager and are expected to have more duties for the present wages, then you should be salaried, and compensation to accomodate this on call status, time off in leiu of pay, or rate hike.

alot of ppl are overworked since the HB-1 visas cannot seem to be raised to meet the 900,000 IT jobs going unfilled in USA btw now and 2010.
so keep your eyes peeled, they may be happy to pay you more to add these duties, rather than train someone else. I know ppl who make double now that their duties changed for varying employers. Some contract and some salaried.

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good luck

by DimBulb In reply to tune changes aftre you jo ...

The current FLSA policies on on-call compensation seem to have been written before pagers. They require companies to pay you only if your normal activities are seversely limited, such as sitting by the phone all day. Many companied feel that if it the problem can be handled via phone, then what's the big deal? Everytime my pager goes off at night, I charge 2 hours OT. If they don't have a written policy that you agreed to when hired, then they don't have much recourse, except to get rid of you.

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