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Attorneys are paid according to the labor or time that they devote to their legal jobs. Besides this, associates are required to spend time beyond their working hours to be on call. This is known as on-call time. There are federal laws that ensure that employees are paid for on-call time and at the same time penalized for violation of any rules and regulations.

A. Harrison Barnes, CEO of Bcgsearch.com, explains that these federal laws were enforced by the Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division. Associates who violate these laws are punished and penalized for their wrong doings. They may have to go without pay for violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Like wise an employer may also be penalized for his wrong doings.

A. Harrison Barnes, points out that there are several factors that have to be analyzed before considering if an attorney is working on on-call time. If an attorney is on call during his office hours, then a different set of rules will be applicable to him. Again, if he is on call after working hours, then another set of rules apply. If your employer requires you to apply all of your psychological and physical labor for your work, that will be considered as usual work time. If your employer expects you within few minutes time, or in a rural area, not more than 10 miles, the call time will be included in the work time.

Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has stipulated many factors for differentiating between on-call time and work time, says A. Harrison Barnes. It has been stated that if an attorney is required to be on-call whenever his employer wants him to, leaving very little time for himself, then the associate will be compensated according to the FLSA rules and regulations.

Again if an attorney is required to simply deliver a word at his place or with the officials in the company, beyond his normal working hours, he may not be liable to any compensation for the on-call time, says A. Harrison Barnes.

Factors to be considered in an attorney job:

Whether an attorney is on-call time depends on a number of factors, according to A. Harrison Barnes. These may include:

  • The number of times the attorney is called while on-call
  • The time available to the attorney to spend onr himself while on-call in a legal job
  • The distance that the attorney is required to cover while on-call; i.e., how far is he required to travel
  • Whether the attorney is required to stay in the location is an important determining factor
  • If allowed to go off location, the distance that the attorney can cover while on call

You must be aware of your rights in the law career

If you feel that the employer has violated the laws of FLSA, you may lodge a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division within 2 years of the violation.

Investigations by the Wage and Hour Division may proceed in the following manner:

  • Grievance from any attorney
  • Objection from any previous attorney
  • Probing into the violations of any Wage and Hour Division laws and regulations by any previous attorney
  • Regular inspections by the law firm to ensure if there has been any case of violation

Further, an attorney can claim compensation for all the telephonic conversations required to be held on Saturdays including the time spent traveling to and from the law firm, says A. Harrison Barnes, owner of bcgsearch.com. The amount of control that the employer exercises on the tasks of the attorney decides whether the on call time is compensable or not. This has been stated by the court of law.

The US court of law has laid down certain factors which are to be considered to determine if the on-call time is compensable or not:

  • Does the person have a fair amount of time for his rest and leisure after his work?
  • Whether the frequency of phone calls is highly restraining? Do the calls take up all the personal time?
  • Is the geographical boundary highly narrowed for the attorney?
  • Is the attorney free enough to trade his on-call duties and responsibilities with his other associates?
  • If the attorneys are on call 24/7, or only for a stipulated time period and for specific days in a month
  • Are the attorneys required to wear their uniform while on-call?

According to A. Harrison Barnes, these are the most important determining factors whether an attorney should be compensated while on-call or not. From a moral standpoint, it seems logical that when the attorney spends time for his legal career, he ought to be compensated.

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