Should You Ask for Additional Compensation for Being on Call?

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The Healthcare industry has some of the most rewarding careers in the US, but it also happens to have some of the most demanding ones as well. You may consider yourself lucky if you manage to land a job as a healthcare professional, but you have to make sure you’re getting properly compensated for the amount of work you’re expected to do. This is especially true when it comes to on-call duty.

You’re probably thinking that on-call duty doesn’t make much of a difference, but it’s not the case. Considering the fact that on-call duties are happening more and more often compared to back then, how you’re getting paid for all that work could have a huge impact on your long-term income. Sure, it’s understood that you get paid extra for on-call duty, but should you be asking for more?

To find out the answer, you have to understand how you’re getting paid in the first place. There’s a good chance that you’re already paid up to a certain amount of on-call work. Once you exceed that amount of on-call work, you should be getting paid extra. That’s when you start to figure out if the extra compensation is worth your time and effort.

Before asking for extra compensation, you have to consider a few factors that affect how “worthy” of your time that extra payment is. The rule of thumb is that the less control you have over things during on-call hours, the more you should be paid. Here’s a quick rundown on these factors:

On-call hours – How many hours are you expected to be able to respond to calls? Are you going to be taking calls only during certain times of the day or are you on-call 24 hours a day? Will you be taking calls only during work days or are weekends also included? Remember that more on-call time means there’s a chance that you’ll be disrupted outside of office hours, which can affect your stress levels and quality of life.

Response time – Does your employer require you to respond within a given amount of time? If so, then you should ask for extra compensation.

Location – When you’re on-call, are you supposed to be staying in the office and standing by or are you waiting at home or somewhere else. In the case of the former, you should be paid for the time you’re staying in the office because you can’t spend time as you wish. On the other hand, you can’t make a case for extra pay if you’re on your couch at home and nobody’s calling for you.

Area restrictions – If you’re not waiting at your workplace for incoming calls, there’s still a chance that your employer would still want you to stay within an area to ensure faster response times. This condition usually warrants extra pay.

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Activity restrictions – you might be restricted from doing certain activities during your on-call hours to make sure you’re ready to respond to calls. For example, you can’t be drinking since you have to stay sober. Being on duty is stressful enough, but being restricted while you’re just waiting for calls can be just as bad.

Distance and Transportation – On-call duty may require you to commute to get to and from the workplace. Keep in mind that the travel time can be considered part of your duty, and the commuting expenses could eat into the extra compensation. The farther and the more expensive the commute is, the more you are entitled to ask for extra compensation.

Sometimes, the default extra compensation is more than enough to cover the disadvantages of being on-standby, but you have to look beyond the figures. Remember that your physical and mental health will also be affected by being on-call, which could also affect how much value you get out of your extra pay. If you think the bonuses of being on-call is not rewarding enough given your current workload, you can always ask for more.

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Jeremy Kaplan

A 50-something year old lifestyle, career, and education blogger based in Atlanta, Georgia. Years of experience in the office setting working with others and still loving it year-after-year.

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