Employees Required to “Call-In” Are Entitled to Reporting Time Pay if Not Put to Work

Employees Required to “Call-In” Are Entitled to Reporting Time Pay if Not Put to Work

On February 4, 2019, a California court of appeal in a 2-1 decision held that if an employee is required to “call-in” to see if he or she must report for work, such as by using a phone or logging-on to a computer remotely, the employee “reports for work,” and is entitled to two hours of “reporting time pay” if not put to work. The majority in Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc. reasoned that “on-call shifts burden employees, who cannot take other jobs, go to school, or make social plans during on-call shifts, but receive no compensation unless called in to work. . . precisely the kind of abuse that reporting time pay was designed to discourage.” The dissenting justice stated that the legislative history of the phrase “report for work” reflected the drafters’ intent that to qualify for reporting time pay, an employee “must physically appear at the workplace.” The Ward decision may be reviewed by the California Supreme Court, but in the meantime, it creates potential class action liability for employers that have unpaid “call-in” or “on-call” policies in place.