What follows is just a sampling of the wisdom to be found daily at Dan Holohan's HeatingHelp.com.

On-Call Compensation

Original inquiry: I give my guys compensation for taking the pager on the weekends. They receive it whether they go out or not.

I would like some idea what is considered due compensation for taking the pager for a weekend, Friday night to Monday morning. Scott

Replies: We give our on-call tech $100 per weekend. If he takes a call he gets paid for the time he was on the call in addition to the $100. matt.r

Way back when, we started paying our guys $75 per week to be on call. On call was all “off” hours from 4:30 p.m. Monday to 8:00 a.m. the next Monday. If they were called out, they were paid the appropriate scale for when they were out. Everybody got one week. There was a six-month calendar that showed who was on when; it was up to the guys to trade time if they wanted to. The phone was answered by a service tech that forwarded the call to the on-call tech. Not perfect, but the system worked pretty good. Tom

I pay $25 a night during the week and $100 a weekend. Since the only other guy I had that was able to do nights left in September, I have been doing every night and weekend myself. I am burnt out and ready to say screw it. Al

I pay my guys nothing!

I allow them to call in from their Nextels once every two hours to pick up calls - from anywhere within a one-hour drive of the shop. (Meaning, if they want to go “out” they can - but not one brewski!)

If they get a call, they get their pay (OT if they already have 40 hours in, or being “on call” creates over 40 hours anyhow later in the week), plus a bonus of $60/residential call or $75/call if commercial. They serve in this capacity from 5 p.m. (regular quitting time) to 10 p.m. weekdays, any holiday, Saturday or Sunday.

If they do four Saturday calls, just the bonus alone puts an extra $300 or more in their wallet. Ken

We get the luxury of the Nextel time-and-a-half after an eight-hour day, and after 40 total hours. Double time after 12 hours straight and the option to drop calls to the next guy on the list after 12 hours, which I never do, but seem to get hammered when the shoe is on the other foot.

If I get cleared (sent home due to no calls) and then get called out, I get two hours minimum of double time just to answer the phone and get you going, and double time the entire time I'm out. The only “standby” pay is on Sundays (which is straight double time all day), and that amounts to $80. tommyoil

How does this sound: What if we gave 50 percent of the overtime labor, where the payroll time-and-half would be part of that 50 percent? Does that sound fair? That would equal either approximately 60-82 hours depending on day and time of day paid to the worker. No on-call pay, just a very good rate? Tim

I'm still thinking about telling my wife she's on call. I just bought her some nice perfume, so that could be an advance.

Well, everyone should remember that this is a great trade and be proud that you have the ability to keep the public safe and comfortable. No matter how you slice it, on call is on call. Bravo to the companies that give their tech's extra pay, because for many years techs went out for just regular pay. It is a good sign for future employees to see we actually pay good people.

P.S. Al, I know how you feel. Take a long weekend. It will do you some good. REF

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