In addition to vacations and statutory holidays, there are two
key times when an employee who is not performing any productive
work may be entitled to be paid under the Employment Standards Act
while on-call other than at home; and during travel time.
On-call employees are "at work" and are entitled to be
paid regular wages as well as overtime for those hours of work. The
Act provides that an employee is "at work" while on call
at a location designated by the employer, unless that location is
the "employee's residence", a term which is narrowly
construed and probably does not include most temporary
accommodation provided by the employer at or near the worksite.
Employees who are not in their own homes and who are required by
the employer to be available to work on an as-needed basis are
on-call and "at work" for the purposes of the Act, even
if they are sleeping or watching television. There are a number of
exemptions set out in the Regulation relating to live-in home
support workers, night attendants, residential care workers and
certain industry-specific workers such as fish farm workers.
Watch out for:
employees who are required to remain at or near the workplace
after work and who may be required to work on an as-needed basis;
employees who are on-call at home, but who are subject to
significant restrictions, such as a short response time, which
effectively curtail the employees' mobility or freedom.
do not require employees who remain at the workplace after
their hours of work to be available to work on an as-needed or
emergency basis; and
when preparing guidelines for employees on-call, carefully
consider the reasonableness of response times or other
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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