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Call-back Overtime

Applicability

The following applies to GS, FP, and FWS EXEMPT and NONEXEMPT employees.

Definition

Call-back overtime work is irregular or occasional overtime work performed by an employee on a day when no work is scheduled or at a time which requires the employee to return to the place of employment from an off-duty status. Call-back overtime work is deemed not less than 2 hours in duration for pay or compensatory time (5 U.S.C. 5542). See guidance outlined in Section 8 of this Handbook. If a single call-back involves the employee for more than two hours and the time is continuous, the employee must be compensated for actual time.

Multiple Entitlements

An employee who is called back more than once during the same two-hour period is entitled to call-back overtime pay for each time called back. Call-back overtime pay is not conditioned on the actual performance of duty.

Exclusions

By definition, call-back overtime provisions do not apply to work performed by the employee when the employee works at a place of residence, when an employee lives and works on a vessel, or when the employee lives on the premises of a duty station, e.g., a remote radar site. An employee who corrects system problems by computer modem without returning to the workplace is not eligible for call-back pay. However, such employees may be eligible for overtime if they have been authorized to perform work at or from their residence. Overtime pay of these employees will be based on actual time spent in unscheduled overtime work, provided the work is substantial in nature (at least eight minutes), and approved procedures have been followed for verifying the time and performance of work.

Call-Back on a Holiday

Employees, who, on a holiday, are called back to work are entitled to at least two hours pay at the holiday premium pay rate (5 U.S.C. 5546(c)). Compensatory time off is not allowed in lieu of pay for holiday call-back. The holiday rate is payable for all call-back hours which correspond to nonovertime hours of the employee's regular daily tour up to 8 except that an employee on a compressed work schedule may be paid call-back not to exceed the nonovertime hours of his or her tour.

Coextensive Entitlements

An employee who is called back on a holiday would seem to have a dual pay entitlement, i.e., under 5 U.S.C. 55468 (two hours holiday call-back) and 5 U.S.C. 5542 (two hours regular call-back). However, for pay purposes, the entitlements are said to be coextensive, i.e., the employee's minimum entitlement (ME) is limited to two hours, not four, when call-back is performed on a holiday and the entire period of call-back does not exceed two hours.

If the entire period corresponds to nonovertime hours, the employee will be paid at the holiday rate only. If the call-back period comprises nonovertime and overtime, the nonovertime hours will be paid at the holiday rate and the overtime period at the overtime rate. (37 Comp. Gen. 1).

Example 1 - Nonholiday Call-Back

An electronics technician's regular tour is Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The employee is called back to make an emergency repair late Monday night and works from 1 a.m. Tuesday until 2 a.m. He returns home and is called back for another emergency and works from 5:30 a.m. until 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.

  • Regular tour: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Mon. thru Fri.
  • Called back: 1 a.m. - 2 p.m. Tues. ME 2 hours OT 5:30 a.m. - 6 a.m. Tues. ME 2 hours OT

The employee's minimum entitlement (ME) is 2 hours overtime for the period between 1 a.m. and 2 a.m. and 2 hours overtime for the period between 5:30 a.m. and 6 a.m. for a total of 4 hours, payable at the overtime rate or by 4 hours of compensatory overtime.

Example 2 - Holiday Call-Back Extending Beyond The Hours Of The Employee's Regular Tour

An electronics technician's regular tour is Monday through Friday 8.00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday is a legal holiday and the employee is scheduled to be off. The employee is called in to make an emergency repair from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon and again at 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

  • Regular tour: 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Mon. thru Fri.
  • Called back: 11:30 a.m. - 12 noon Tues. ME 2 hours H 4 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Tues. ME 2 hour H plus 1 2 hours OT

The employee's entitlement to call-back pay and holiday pay are coextensive in both instances that day. However, the first period 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon coincides wholly within hours of the employee's regular tour. Therefore, it is paid at the holiday rate only.

The employee's second call-back consists of a 2 hour period which coincides with his regular hours and the remainder which is overtime. The period between 4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. must be paid at the holiday premium pay rate; the 1 2 period from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. must be paid at the overtime rate or by compensatory time.