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Employees boss says waiting & answering phone calls and waiting for customers does not count towards hours worked. Is this true?

Lakeland, FL |

Motel manager
Only employee
Resides on motel
Motel open 24/7
Owners only come in to pick up cash
No written agreement
.responsible for keeping phone in reach 24/7

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Attorney answers 4

Best Answer

The most common answer to legal questions is "it depends." The time hat you spend actually engaged in work (e.g., talking on the phone for work) counts as work time. However, merely carrying the phone is probably not work time, especially if you are able to use the time for personal activities (e.g., sleep, go shopping, watch TV, etc.). I encourage you to consult in person with an employment attorney to get a careful analysis.

My answers to questions posted on AVVO are intended to provide general information only, and are not intended to be legal advice. Employment law issues typically require a careful case-by-case analysis. Consequently, if you feel that you need legal advice, I would encourage you to consult in person with an employment attorney in your area.


If will likely come down to whether you are required to be on site or not.

This response is intended as only general legal information and not specific legal advice for your case. You should consult with an attorney for legal advice. You may contact our statewide offices for a consultation, toll free at 1-866-318-4878. Main office Gainesville.


Federal wage law on whether "on call" or waiting time is compensable is complex. In general, the outcome depends on the degree of control exercised by the employer and the degree of freedom the worker has to do things other than work. You should contact a Florida employment lawyer who handles unpaid wage claims.


It depends on whether you are free to do as you please during waiting time. If you can leave the premises, go shopping, eat, take a nap, etc., it may not count as hours worked. If you have to stay in the premises waiting to work, then it counts. This is what is called "engaged to wait," which should be paid versus "waiting to engage," which is not.