Must an Employer Pay Employees for On-Call Time?

The Employment Standards Administration Wage and Hour Division recently issued a new opinion letter in which it decided that an employer need not compensate an on-call employee who was required while on-call to be reachable at all times, abstain from alcohol or other substances, and report to work within one hour of notice to return. "[S]o long as the employee is free to engage in personal activities when he or she is on call," the Division determined that an employer need not pay the employee for the time on-call. If, however, the conditions are so restrictive or calls or so frequent that the on-call employee cannot effectively use the time for personal purposes, an employer must pay the employee for the time.