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    I’ll add to this that being on call when it’s quiet limits your ability to live your life as you please outside of office hours - you can’t disappear into the wilderness, you can’t go to the movies and turn your phone off, you can’t go out to dinner and not take your laptop, you can’t go out to a party and get drunk so that you sleep through the beeping.

    That’s the best scenario. When things are broken you might lose a lot of sleep. You might have to interrupt dinner with friends. You might have to jump in a cab and head home so you can get properly online and work. You come into the office tired; your partner is grumpy because they got woken up, too; you feel like crap because you haven’t had an evening all week where you didn’t have to deal with something.

    On-call can be a scourge. It’s random, unpaid work, demanding your full attention at the worst of times. The best thing I can recommend is: don’t be on call. Don’t get in that critical path. If you are a manager with on-call staff you should be telling people to come in late, or not at all, if they’ve had a night of activity.

    And make fixing that issue so it never wakes anyone up again your biggest priority.

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      It’s random, unpaid work, demanding your full attention at the worst of times.

      Is this something specific to states? Where I live I’m paid (constant amount) for the fact that I’m on-call even if nothing happens. And 150% of my hourly rate if I have to work.

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        In the US, it varies by the job and by the state.

        Some employees are paid hourly, and there are state and federal labor rules about how many hours a week (and sometimes how many hours per day) an employee can work before an overtime rate has to be paid.

        There are other workers, however, who are paid ‘on salary’ instead of hourly. That means they get payed monthly or bi-weekly at a fixed rate, and hours worked aren’t tracked and don’t enter into the pay equation. They are called ‘exempt’ employees, because they are not covered by the minimum wage and overtime rules that apply to hourly employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

        Exempt employees often preferentially asked to go on call because, if they’ll do it, they aren’t required to be paid extra for the work like an hourly employee would be. Some jobs choose to pay their exempt employees an on-call bonus, or to compensate them in other ways- extra time off for example- but not all do. If you work at one of those places, you have to decide if your salary makes up for the hassle and inconvenience of putting up with on-call work.

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          In the US, by an unfortunate quirk of labor regulations, software engineers are considered “clerical” and are exempt from the requirement that they be paid overtime. Consequently, for all intents and purposes all are salaried and not paid for hours actually worked.

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            Yeah, likewise. I’m a massive advocate for putting devs on-call, but I won’t enter a rotation unless it’s compensated: at a minimum, a base rate per hour, regardless of incidents.

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              In the US there are a lot more people working as salaried, non-hourly employees than other places I’m aware of in europe and SE asia. It’s rare for a salaried job to pay any sort of overtime, or additional compensation for on-call.

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              All places I’ve worked at, including startups and small companies paid for you to be on call. And you matched hours to hours if there was night work (ie come in late next day), and you got an extra day off at the end of your on call shift.