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Can An Employer Hire On Call Employees?

In today’s fast-paced economy, businesses are always looking for ways to stay competitive. One solution is to hire on-call employees who can be called in as needed. But is this legal? Can an employer hire on-call employees? The answer is yes, but there are some important factors that must be considered. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of hiring on-call employees and the legal implications that come with it. So, whether you’re an employer looking to expand your workforce or an employee looking for flexible work arrangements, read on to learn more.

Yes, an employer can hire on-call employees. On-call employees are typically hired to fill in for regular employees who are absent due to illness, vacation, or other reasons. They may also be hired to provide additional support during busy periods. On-call employees are not guaranteed regular hours and are typically paid only for the time they work. Employers must comply with applicable labor laws and regulations when hiring on-call employees.

Can an Employer Hire on Call Employees?

Can an Employer Hire on Call Employees?

Employers often have to deal with fluctuating workloads and unexpected absences. In such cases, hiring on-call employees can be an excellent solution. But what exactly are on-call employees, and how can employers hire them? In this article, we’ll explore the concept of on-call employment and provide a comprehensive guide for employers who want to hire on-call staff.

What are On-Call Employees?

On-call employees are workers who are not assigned a fixed schedule but are available to work when needed. They are usually paid an hourly rate or per call rate and are called in to work when there is a need for extra staff. On-call employees can be found in various industries, including healthcare, hospitality, retail, and transportation.

One of the main benefits of hiring on-call employees is that it provides flexibility for the employer. They can quickly respond to unexpected demand and reduce the workload of full-time employees. On the other hand, on-call employees can also benefit from the arrangement. They have the freedom to accept or decline shifts as per their availability, giving them a better work-life balance.

Pros and Cons of Hiring On-Call Employees

Like any employment arrangement, hiring on-call employees has its advantages and disadvantages. Here are some of the pros and cons of hiring on-call staff:


  • Provides flexibility to the employer
  • Reduces the workload of full-time employees
  • Allows for quick response to unexpected demand
  • Can save money on employee benefits and taxes


  • May lead to scheduling conflicts and missed shifts
  • On-call employees may have less job security
  • May result in higher turnover rates
  • On-call employees may not be as committed to the job as full-time employees

How to Hire On-Call Employees

If you’re an employer looking to hire on-call staff, here are some steps you should follow:

Step 1: Determine Your Needs

Start by identifying the tasks that require on-call staff. Evaluate your current workforce and determine the areas where you need additional support. This will help you determine the number of on-call employees you need and the qualifications required for the job.

Step 2: Define the Job Description

Create a job description that outlines the responsibilities, qualifications, and hourly rate or per-call rate for the position. Be sure to include the expected availability and the process for scheduling on-call employees.

Step 3: Advertise the Position

Advertise the position on job boards, social media, and other relevant platforms. Be clear about the requirements and expectations for the position.

Step 4: Screen and Interview Candidates

Review the applications and resumes of the candidates. Conduct interviews to assess their qualifications, availability, and attitude towards the job.

Step 5: Train and Orient New On-Call Employees

Once you’ve hired your on-call employees, provide them with the necessary training and orientation. Ensure that they understand the job requirements, scheduling procedures, and any other relevant policies and procedures.


Hiring on-call employees can be an excellent solution for employers dealing with fluctuating workloads. It provides flexibility and quick response to unexpected demand. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate your needs and follow the right process to hire the right on-call staff. By following the steps outlined above, you can successfully hire on-call employees and benefit from their services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions related to the hiring of on-call employees:

What is an on-call employee?

An on-call employee is someone who is not scheduled to work a regular shift but is available to work when needed. They are typically paid only for the hours they work and may not receive benefits or be guaranteed a certain number of hours.

Employers may hire on-call employees to cover unexpected absences, seasonal work, or busy periods. They are often used in industries such as healthcare, hospitality, and retail.

What are the benefits of hiring on-call employees?

Hiring on-call employees can provide employers with greater flexibility and cost savings. They can help cover unexpected absences or busy periods without the need to hire additional full-time staff. On-call employees are only paid for the hours they work, which can reduce labor costs for the employer.

Additionally, on-call employees may be more available to work during off-peak hours or weekends, providing greater coverage for the employer.

What are the legal requirements for hiring on-call employees?

Employers must ensure that on-call employees are classified correctly under labor laws. They may be considered part-time or temporary employees and must be paid at least the minimum wage for the hours they work.

Employers must also comply with state and federal labor laws regarding overtime pay, meal and rest breaks, and other employment regulations. It is important to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

How are on-call employees scheduled for work?

Employers typically have a system in place for scheduling on-call employees. This may involve a call-in system, where the employee is notified of available shifts and can accept or decline the offer. Alternatively, employers may have a set schedule in place for on-call employees, based on expected demand and staffing needs.

It is important for employers to communicate clearly with on-call employees regarding their expected availability and scheduling requirements. This can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that the employer has adequate coverage when needed.

What are the challenges of hiring on-call employees?

One of the challenges of hiring on-call employees is maintaining adequate staffing levels. Employers must ensure that they have enough on-call employees available to cover unexpected absences or busy periods.

Another challenge is ensuring that on-call employees are motivated and engaged, despite not having a set schedule or guaranteed hours. Employers may need to provide incentives or training to keep on-call employees engaged and ensure that they are providing high-quality service to customers or clients.

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In conclusion, the answer is yes, an employer can hire on-call employees. However, there are certain legal requirements that need to be met to ensure compliance with labor laws. The employer must clearly define the on-call status and provide compensation for the time spent waiting to be called in for work.

Employers must also ensure that on-call employees are not being taken advantage of and are not being forced to be available for work at all times. It is important to establish clear communication between the employer and the employee regarding expectations and availability.

Overall, hiring on-call employees can be beneficial for businesses, but it is important to do so in a fair and legal manner. By following the necessary guidelines and ensuring that employees are treated fairly, employers can create a positive work environment for everyone involved.

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