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  1. Senior Member ypark's Avatar
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    #1

    Default Exempt employee on-call experience?

    I have recently received an offer for a Datacenter Technician position and I am basically being hired as salaried, exempt employee and will require me to be on-call 1 to 2 weeks every month outside of my normal working hours. They did mention that being on-call rarely require someone to come in unless something seriously goes wrong.

    Can anyone share their experience being on call at a 24x7 environment? How do you get compensated, if at all, for additional hours or on-call hours? How do you manage work/life balance being on call?

    I will be accepting the offer anyway since it will be a good learning experience for me and the compensation and benefits are better than my current job. I would love to hear your opinion/tips/experiences. Thanks!
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    #2
    I was basically on call 24-7 with my previous employer. Overtime at 1.5 applied the minute I picked up the phone in increments of .25 hours. What was nice is they also allowed me to swap that OT into a comp time bucket and use it another time in place of or with vacation leave. My current employer has me on an on call rotation every 6 or 8 weeks for a week 24-7. Similar setup. The minute I pickup the phone I can document OT at 1.5 for .50 hours with this employer. Again I can dump that time into a bucket vs taking the cash. I should mention both employers are government vs private. My current employer also pays a small fee for being on standby my previous employer paid nothing for standby.
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  4. Senior Member ypark's Avatar
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    #3
    Thanks for sharing your experience aidan80. Were you working as an hourly employee for those two employers? I don't believe I will be compensated for those additional hours as on-call since the offer letter did not mention overtime.
    How did you manage being on call? Was it disruptive as far as family life/sleep/rest are concerned?
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    #4
    Exempt doesn't get paid for overtime. Exempt means your position is exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations regarding overtime.
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    #5
    I'm assuming your in the US? I'm currently and was previously a non exempt employee. I was paid hourly and had a set schedule of 40 hours per week. If I'm not mistaken you have to be paid by law if you work beyond your scheduled hours. My On Call for my first employer wasn't frequent however when I did get a call it meant the $hit had hit the fan and one of two absolutely mission critical systems was down. I was unfortunately an admin for both. My current employer during my week on call I might get 5 or 6 calls on average. Most being resolved in less than 15 minutes. Once in a while I'll get something more complex which I'll pass on to someone more senior if it's beyond my skill level or permissions level. Every now and then I'd get a stupid call like.. why isn't X working.. Because it's 3AM and that's when we run backups.

    Sometimes it's very quite, sometimes it's absolutely insane. The majority of the time it's not too bad once you figure out all the quirks in the various systems and the schedules things run at.
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    #6
    How do you get compensated, if at all, for additional hours or on-call hours? How do you manage work/life balance being on call?
    The last time I was on-call, I was paid a per-diem rate for being on-call. Normally only 15-30 minutes of work was required. Anytime the worked extended beyond two hours, I was awarded a comp day for my efforts. That sounds quite sweet, but it was more of a drain that it might at first sound like. You can never go off-the-grid for long or totally forget about work.
    Last edited by NetworkVeteran; 07-25-2015 at 09:35 AM.
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  8. You are already dead jmritenour's Avatar
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    #7
    I've been on call before as part of being a salaried systems engineer. Generally speaking, there's no extra compensation or anything of the sort, it's part of the role and "why they pay you the big bucks".

    One thing you may want to clarify is if you get called out on something that takes several hours, how does that impact the rest of your work week. For example, my boss at one company was very adamant that we keep track of our time and try to stick close to 40 hours a week, even though we were salaried and exempt. So if we were on a call that took several hours over night, he'd say to just stay home and put in a few hours remote unless we had commitments that required us to be in the office the next day.

    At another company I worked at for about a year, they had rotation of about 10 engineers, and I only ended up as the primary on call like 3 times I was there. And of that, I got called maybe 5 times total. What was great about that company was their tier 2 team was really solid, and when I got called, it was more that they were looking for advice and direction rather than someone to jump in and save the day.

    Bottom line is, being on call can suck, or it can be not so bad. It's really going to depend on the company, because some will abuse you. If you have concerns about it, definitely clarify specifics.
    "Start by doing what is necessary, then do what is possible; suddenly, you are doing the impossible." - St. Francis of Assisi
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  9. Senior Member ypark's Avatar
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    #8
    AverageJoe: I know the employer is not required by law to compensate for additional hours for exempt employees, although I am wondering if my role/position should be an exempt position. I was just wondering if anyone had an employer that provided some type of compensation. Also I wanted to hear how people cope with being on call for week or two weeks at a time.

    aidan80: I am in the US. Thanks for tip and your experience. I can kind of sense what being on call may be like. Since I am a tier 1 tech, I may not see additional work unless we are short staffed.

    NetworkVeteran: I am normally a guy that works hard during my work hours and once I'm off the clock, do my own thing type of guy. It'll take some getting used to. Do you find that as you climb up the ladder (higher tier/salary) you see less of on-call/after hours work or is that irrelevant?
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  10. Senior Member ypark's Avatar
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    #9
    jmritenour: Thanks for sharing your experiences. From what I have seen and heard, my new employer does right by its employees so I am not so worried about being taken advantage of. I will have much to learn and I can definitely use the experience so I'll have to suck it up either way. All the experiences and insights you are sharing are helping me get an idea of what it can be like.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by ypark View Post
    NetworkVeteran: Do you find that as you climb up the ladder (higher tier/salary) you see less of on-call/after hours work or is that irrelevant?
    Less on-call. For many employers, it's not worth the premium to pay extra for an expert or architect to be on-call during off-hours. They accept a slightly lower level of service then. Intermediate-level engineers who can troubleshoot and solve most short-term problems suffices. Of course, if everything went kaput and that engineer couldn't solve things (happens every few years) they'd try to reach out to an expert or architect, and I love my company and would certainly help if possible.
    Last edited by NetworkVeteran; 07-25-2015 at 05:04 PM.
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    #11
    My on call/working off hours has resulted in comp time. This past friday we came in to move some servers/equipment and I ended up leaving by 1. This next weekend I'm going to be working with my manager upgrading our Vblock and VMware and I'll probably have 8 hours of comp time headed my way.
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  13. Senior Member phantasm's Avatar
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    #12
    I get comp time. That's it.
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  14. Senior Member ypark's Avatar
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    #13
    NetworkVeteran: It's good to hear that it gets better. I will pay my dues.

    BingTone & phantasm: Are you both salaried? I hope I can get comp time too.
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    #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ypark View Post
    NetworkVeteran: It's good to hear that it gets better. I will pay my dues.

    BingTone & phantasm: Are you both salaried? I hope I can get comp time too.
    Yep, salaried since the beginning of my IT career.
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  16. Senior Member phantasm's Avatar
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by ypark View Post
    NetworkVeteran: It's good to hear that it gets better. I will pay my dues.

    BingTone & phantasm: Are you both salaried? I hope I can get comp time too.
    I am a salaried employee.
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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by NetworkVeteran View Post
    Less on-call. For many employers, it's not worth the premium to pay extra for an expert or architect to be on-call during off-hours. They accept a slightly lower level of service then. Intermediate-level engineers who can troubleshoot and solve most short-term problems suffices. Of course, if everything went kaput and that engineer couldn't solve things (happens every few years) they'd try to reach out to an expert or architect, and I love my company and would certainly help if possible.
    I am not on call I do help desk work but my pay is low thou compare to other high tier IT guys
    Some positions don't require on call but you may find your self a bit more limited
    I will have to change my career path in IT a bit thou
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