There are a lot of dumb laws out there. You can spend 49% of your time with your child, but if the other parent has them 51% of the time, you pay child support. It is harder to get a license to drive a car than it is to get one to use a gun. You can get a DUI for passing out in the back seat of a car if the keys are in your pocket, even if the car isn’t on.
But there is another dumb law that really screws over workers. It relates to on call time.
You can have a job working as an ambulance driver or cable repair guy or any other job and your employer can require you to be on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week and in most cases they don’t have to pay you a penny for it. The law is that if you are just standing by, they don’t have to pay you.
They can restrict how far away you can go. For example, I was called by an ambulance driver who must be within an hour of his work site at all times. He can’t go on vacations or visit relatives that are two hours away. He couldn’t go see his son play in a basketball game that was 90 minutes away. For all of this he gets paid nothing and neither do his 15 co-workers.
The law says that this person’s time isn’t restricted so they don’t have to be paid, but that’s a crock. The law says they only have to be near a cell phone. It doesn’t recognize what is really happening. These people can’t have many drinks because they might get called in. If they start a workout or go to a movie or are out on a date, they must be willing to cut it short at any time.
There is no compensation because they are not performing any actual work, but they become so restricted that they have no life.
Times are tough and most people are happy to just have a job, but if an employer can control where you go when work is over without compensation then there is something drastically wrong in my opinion.
And don’t look for this law to change. For the most part, laws in our country get more restrictive not less. When you have a still rebounding economy, there isn’t a legislator in the world that will make employers pay more money, even if they are taking advantages of workers.
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