Is my employer ripping me off?

How much am I getting ripped off?

My job requires an after hour phone in which would be active from 6pm-8am weekdays and 24 hours on Sat and Sun.

Our company pays an employee $50 per week to have this.

Though the phone rarely goes off and may ring once per week and generally get about 5 txt messages throughout the week in which we need to respond to.

Is this legal? And how much would someone expect to get paid for this?


  • +7

    You're ripping your employer off by complaining about it.

    'yes, doing your job is part of your job'

  • +11

    Was it in your contract when you started?

    What does your job entail?

  • +10

    There's so many missing details it's impossible to make any judgement.

    Are you a fire fighter or a barista? Are you actually expected to respond at 3am? How long does it take to respond?

    Is it salaried/casual/etc?

    $50 for responding to 5 texts seems like a good deal.

    • +7

      Not if you have to keep checking it for the whole weekend

      He's spending the weekend worrying about it.

      I would just tell them to get (profanity), or to pay you for the full weekend at double time.

      Seriously though, i would decline the responsibility, tell them you have another job on the weekend mowing lawns.

      Your weekend is to forget about work, best way to burnout is to be thinking about work 7 days a week.

  • Make some overseas calls so they take the phone back off you.

  • +10

    I used to do that. $50 per week on be on after hours call. But if the phone or pager went off & I did work I got 2 hours minimum of 50% of what the client was charged. Most of the time it was money for nothing, just meant I couldn't have anything to drink but I'm not much of a drinker anyway. I thought that deal was pretty fair. That was about 10 years ago though.

    • +1

      I was on a similar system.

      Got an on-call payment and additional money depending on what I had to do.

  • +17

    It's perfectly legal/normal to have an after-hours phone and an allowance for you to respond, and $50 a week seems reasonable.

    However, you should expect that every time you get a call and DO have to respond, meaning you have to "work" over the phone, you should be paid your hourly rate to do so (usually at a minimum of 1 hours pay per instance.) An on-call allowance isn't a wage for work - it's more like just a demand for "availability" and for you to carry the phone so you are truly available.

    Personally, I wouldn't bother trying to claim work hours if responding to a few random texts only takes me a few minutes. You probably wouldn't be very popular if you did that. But if you have to do some "actual work" once you get the calls, like show up to an office, offer support over the phone, etc, it is reasonable that you document the call received as a request for work, document your hours worked on the task, and demand to be paid for that time.

    • +1


      I wouldn't care about responding to texts. However if it were a long phone call and involved doing work from home/in the office then those hours would be logged and I'd expect compensation for it.

  • +2

    Seems reasonable to me.

  • +4

    Bring it up with your employer.

    If you're not happy doing what you're doing for the pay you're getting, find a new job.

  • +1

    Thanks all advice taken on board.

  • +4

    Holy crap, I wish I got that. I'm on the alarm call list and I get nothing for it.

  • +3

    Your union will give you free advice on this matter

  • I pay $10 a month for my phone plan and use it for work. Work doesn't give me anything, regardless $50 a week sounds like a great deal! I'd love that.

    • +1

      You could tax deduct it provided you work out what portion is used for work.

  • +5

    $50 for one phone call and five text messages? Where can I get on this deal?

  • +2

    should be a oncall payment, and payment per response

  • +3

    You should be getting paid just for being on call ($50) and get paid overtime for the time spent on the work/call.

  • -3

    First, You are crying too much.
    Second, What does your role agreement say?

    I work with technology and I need to be able to reached 24h including the weekends and holidays.
    But this also allows me to have my own time, have my own start time, finish time, lunch time. I see nothing wrong with that.

    • But this also allows me to have my own time, have my own start time, finish time, lunch time. I see nothing wrong with that.

      in some roles, you can have all that without being on standby :P

  • +4

    I'm a gigolo so on call 24/7

    Only had one call in 18 months I've been doing it and it was a damn call centre in India trying to sell me electricity

  • -2

    Don't see why this is such a issue when its only minor a inconvenience.

    I used to have a phone from work too and I DID NOT get paid any extra for it. I think of it as a emergency phone so people can contact me and also as a number I can give to clients so to separate my work and personal numbers. If it is a hassle, I suggest you just divert all calls to the work phone to your personal number so you only have to carry around the one phone in either case.

  • +1

    So, by being on call for $50 you're not getting paid overtime (or weekend rates) for this on call work and you never get to relax over the weekend? I'd tell them where to stick the $50 and give them back the mobile phone. I like to relax after work, not always be on perpetual alert to save your employer paying someone to actually work those hours.

    This benefits your employer, not you. If there is work required during those hours (no matter how basic/limited), someone should be paid an hourly rate and rostered on for that time.

    • -4

      … and the employer would tell you where to stick yourself for the better part of your day…

      …in the queue at your local Centrelink with all the other entitled prince/princesses that think filtering through a few text messages for $50 isn't worth the employment overall.

  • Yeah I don't think you're on a good thing here but there's not a lot of info to go by.

    My wife works for at a hospital and every month or so she is on call for the weekend. She gets paid pretty well but only if she has to respond to a call/txt. She may be abble to deal with it over the phone or it could also mean that she has to go into work.

    Conversely, a mate in the mining industry (not an emergency response type role) was given a phone so that clients could contact him. The phone sits on his office desk between 5pm-9am and weekends as there's no way he's dealing with clients out of hours when he's not being paid.

    I have a work funded phone and we're allowed to use it for personal use. As such I don't have a problem with work-related answering calls/email out of hours. It doesn't happen often and I'd never have to act immediately on anything that pops up, so I don't feel like I'm being ripped off. I am a service provider (consultant) so I'd be foolish to adopt a strict 'business hours only' approach.

  • +1

    in adddition to other advice you've received, I think you're being ripped off, OP
    You should be paid a set fee just for being on standby, and if you actually had to answer a call, also get paid a separate pay + minimum set of 'work hours' per incident/work required, doesn't matter if takes a minute or 30 to resolve. Thats how it is at my workplace, and sometimes there's a competition to be the standby guy/gal over x-mas where usually nothing happens.

  • Hrm, I have done something similar. Basically it was take a laptop home for $100 a week. I think there was one call a year. People fought to get a turn!

  • I'm #2 on the 'not-quite-an-emergency-but-someone-above-my-paygrade-should-be-dealing-with-this-sh!t' list. #1 on the list's wife just gave birth. Fun times!😞 I'm averaging 3 calls per week and I don't get paid for it.

  • So you get $200 a month and your mobile on a plan or prepaid should be what, about $50 a month, so $150 better off for a couple of calls and texts ~ sign me up!

  • Yes, that's how capitalism works. Your employer profits off your labour

  • Barely more than $1 an hour if you ad it to your wage. Depends on if the wage from your daily job is good.

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