"Call Back"

  1. I have a question for you guys, how it works at your workplace and actual laws. I work night shift in the hospital and my shift starts at 7 pm. Sometimes at 6pm, the charge nurse will call one of the scheduled nurses and place her or him on "Call Back". During this time, the scheduled nurse is off work for 4 hours, but is expected to call back after the 4 hours and see if the unit needs them to come in. This "Call Back" is not an option, and you are in no way monetarally compensated for your 4 hours. The charge nurse and the unit manager can not understand why I would not want to do this. " why wouldn't you want 4 hours off in the evening?" Please! What the heck can I do at 10pm in this small town where all the stores close at 7 pm. My biggest problem with this policy is even if I wanted to go out to dinner with my husband, I might be working in 4 hours, so I can't even have a glass of wine or anything, I am liable for my choices and actions to the hospital, yet they are not required to pay me and I have no choice about being on "call back" or not! To top it off, at 10pm, if they don't need you, they will put you on 4 hour call back again, obligating you to call back at 2 am! This policy totally infuriates me and it seems illegal to me! I don't want to do it anymore! Does anyone know any laws or legislation I can show my employeer to defend me refusing to follow this policy? Thanks!
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    About tgirl84

    Joined: Aug '07; Posts: 22; Likes: 10

    27 Comments

  3. by   Reno1978
    Wow, that's much different than where I work. I'd be ticked too!

    Here, you go on "call back" if you volunteer to go home when there's a low census. If you don't volunteer, there's no mandatory low census, so you get a lighter assignment or you might get floated. But, while you go home and you're on "call back" they can call you in anytime for the rest of your shift, but you get paid at time and a half and are guaranteed at least 3 hours.

    I don't know much about laws about stuff like this - it'd probably depend on your state.
  4. by   caliotter3
    You need to make a visit to your local labor board and ask about this practice. It sounds like my employers who forced us to clock out and finish charting on our own time. If you don't want to do this, it seems like your only recourse is to look for another job. If you were to cause a big to do and force them to change, in the case that this is illegal, things will go badly for you and you might get fired for other "infractions". At any rate, you probably need to get another job. I certainly wouldn't want to do this.
  5. by   2BSure
    Union!
  6. by   GrumpyRN63
    As I work casual, if I'm scheduled for an evening they can cancel me for the first half, and have me call back at 5P ( they need to let me know 2 hrs in advance) I can call back again at 5 and see if I'm needed for 7pm. It really screws up your eve, especially if there are child care issues. This usually occurred (infrequently) when the census was very borderline. No, no on call pay since your technically scheduled to be there. If its nite shift your either cancelled or not, no mid shift 2 am call, that would really pi** me off if that was ever the case!!
  7. by   Baloney Amputation
    To the person that implemented this insanity, I think I'd call the fool at home at 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. to check if you need to come to work.
  8. by   glasgow3
    Quote from caliotter3
    you need to make a visit to your local labor board and ask about this practice. it sounds like my employers who forced us to clock out and finish charting on our own time. if you don't want to do this, it seems like your only recourse is to look for another job. if you were to cause a big to do and force them to change, in the case that this is illegal, things will go badly for you and you might get fired for other "infractions". at any rate, you probably need to get another job. i certainly wouldn't want to do this.

    labor law does very little to protect the employee when all is said and done but this is one of the exceptions. non-exempt employees must be paid for all hours actually worked; there are even rules which can cause the extra time to not be paid at an additional overtime rate-----but they still must be paid for actual time worked if they are classified as non-exempt. they can't force you to work off the clock or alter your time cards. of course in most states what they can do is fire you outright for working extra without permission, or for no reason at all, since most are employment-at-will states.

    in the original poster's case no unpaid work is involved. what the employee describes may be one-sided and unfair but it's quite likely legal. things like having to call in periodically or having to refrain from drinking alcohol have been found by the couts to be insufficient in and of themselves to require additional compensation from the employer. (on-call laws are more indeterminate, vary by state and individual circumstance----so i'm speaking generalities here).

    bottom line----if you want fairness, you are free to discuss the situation with your employer. but as a practical matter without a union contract i wouldn't count on it.
  9. by   truern
    We can get called off for low census, yet have to be "on call" for the entire 12-hr shift (we get $2/hr for on call). Monday night I was called off at 1730, placed on call and got called in at 0145. What really bites is I missed the holiday pay.
  10. by   AnnieNHRN
    At my old hospital you would get paid 1 hrs pay for being "on call" for your entire shift. They would put you on call sometimes as you were getting in your car. But they would call you if you were needed. I didn't have to call in. If the census was really low they would just call you off for the entire shift.
    Another hospital where I worked paid about $2/hr. I worked there perdiem and had the choice of either being called off or going on stand by.
    I would not put up with having to call in every 4 hrs like you do. Especially without pay.
  11. by   pers
    My facility does something similar to the OP. Everyone on my unit works 12 hour shifts so we get called off for an entire shift but they consider a shift to be 8 hours, not 12. If you work 12 hour nights, you can get called off from 7-11 and have to call back in at 9 to see if you are needed to work the 11-7 portion of your shift. Alternatively, you may work 7-11 and then be called off (actually sent home, but same rules) for the 11-7 shift. Day shift can be called off for 7-3 and have to call in at 1 to see if they are needed from 3-7 or they may be called off (sent home) at 3.

    I would actually prefer to be placed on call because nothing is worse than having all your staff called off or floated to another unit and then getting swamped with admissions, transfers and patients going downhill. Yeah, it would suck to be unable to make plans but I was supposed to be at work anyway! At least with putting staff on call when I'm the one at work getting slammed I know help will be coming.

    I have a larger problem with showing up to work and someone forgot to call staff off so we are immediately sent home and then they want us to call back in to see if we are needed at 11. I always refuse that and tell them if they send me home I'm going home for the night.
  12. by   2BSure
    Is it me or does it sound like a bunch of people, who thought they were clever, got together and worked out how they could get away without paying a dime for someone to be on call and get away with it. We pay 2.50 per hour for on-call. It is not THAT much.

    I am trying to think of another profession that would put up with this scenario. Let me know if you think of any.

    I will be honest though the fact that you can't have a drink at dinner...small children won't die because of that.
  13. by   OC_An Khe
    I to can't think of another profession that would put up with this type of treatment. On low census days are the lab techs sent home, how about the CEO's administrative assistant, if there is low census then billing must have lower amounts of work to do. Why do Nurses accept this?
  14. by   cardiacmadeline
    At my facility, if we have low census, it is all voluntary who doesn't come in. They will call you and see if you want part or all of your shift off. You can either say yes or no. If you want to work, they will just ask the next person if they want off. If you are called off for the whole shift, they cannot call you back in, you are off for the whole day and free to make whatever plans you want. As far as pay, you can choose to either take PTO time or just not get paid for it. I really do like the system we have. I feel like it is fair and people don't complain because it is all on a volunteer basis. Just curious, how do they decide who they place on call back?

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