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Do you have to pay someone if you contact them while they are "off the clock"?

Tess Jacks's Profile

Do you have to pay an hourly person for their time if you text/call them when they are off the clock? Example, a part-time maintenance man is called or texted on his day off about a problem at the organization and they need his advice on how to fix it. Also on emailing, if a supervisor is working late and emails an hourly employee with a question that they do not expect answer from until the next work day and the employee answers anyway, do you have to compensate them?


Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

Depends on the agreement between the company and contractual/hourly employee. You have to iron these things out with the employee/contractor. Company ethical standards (how you treat your employees/contractors) will play into this.

My personal opinion? If they did the service, required his time and/or expertise....PAY! Most of the times, agreements will include minimum fractional hour increments (like legal services).

(Tax/Business Consultant) |

Agree with @Emerson Galfo.

It depends on the contract agreement with the company and the employee!
The contract may have a clause regarding the employee being "on call".

The "salary" should be commensurate with the employee's role and responsibilities.
If the employee is paid hourly, then Yes, PAY the employee, as it's Off work time for those employees to spend any business time for the employer!

Too many companies Abuse its powers by making employees, esp. hourly workers, work overtime or beyond their normal work shift and Not pay them appropriately.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

It's also a question of reasonable. If you call and ask "where would the key be" is a lot different that a conference call for 30 minutes.

But then again, 20 interruptions for "where is the key" should also be compensated. Again, think materiality and reasonableness.

Ross Anderson, CPA, MBA
Title: Controller
Company: TFS Capital
(Controller, TFS Capital) |

Regardless of your agreement, legally you owe them for time worked as they are very likely not going to be exempt from overtime or hourly pay (there are some exceptions, and ). Now, there are situations where you don't have to pay, and usually it has to meet a des minimis standard where the amount of work has to be very minimal or unrelated to actual work (ie, office is closed tomorrow for weather). Also unless you have strict wage budgets, don't be afraid to pay for after-hour requests. Ideally it'd be better to have their use better planned out so that you don't have to contact them off hours, but things do come up.

Sue Ashe
Title: President and CEO MobileAccountantAZ
Company: MobileAccountantAZ
LinkedIn Profile
(President and CEO MobileAccountantAZ, MobileAccountantAZ) |

Better yet don't bother employees or contractors outside of business hours. This "on call" mentality of some employers and clients is ridiculous. I run my own business and after 5 my phone is turned off period. Nothing is that urgent that it cannot wait until the following work day.

Jeff McGlaughlin
Title: Corporate Controller
Company: Withheld
(Corporate Controller, Withheld) |

...unless it is.

Len Green
Title: Performance Improvement Consultant and E..
Company: Haygarth Consulting LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Performance Improvement Consultant and ERP Strategist, Haygarth Consulting LLC) |

You know, if someone who responds to after hours inquiries from bosses or colleagues is given appropriate recognition, maybe that's all the "compensation" they need.e.g.
-recognition at performance review time
-give them comp time off
-thank them publicly

It depends on frequency and nature of the interruption, I guess. And on the culture created by the organization leaders.

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