On-Call Pay Calculator: How Much Should You Get Paid For Being On-Call?

Being on-call outside of normal working hours can disrupt your personal life. Getting paid extra for on-call time helps compensate for this inconvenience. But how much extra pay should you receive for being on-call?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The standard additional pay for on-call time ranges from $2 to $6 per hour, with higher hourly rates for more restrictive on-call policies. Most experts recommend negotiating at least half your regular hourly rate.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain several factors that impact appropriate on-call pay so you can calculate a fair hourly rate. We’ll also provide tips for negotiating better on-call compensation at your job.

Key Factors That Determine Proper On-Call Pay

When it comes to determining how much you should get paid for being on-call, there are several key factors to consider. These factors will help you understand the proper compensation you should receive for your availability and commitment. Let’s take a closer look at each of these factors:

1. How Restrictive Is the On-Call Policy?

The first factor to consider is how restrictive your on-call policy is. Some companies have more lenient policies that allow employees to have more freedom and flexibility during their on-call hours, while others have more stringent policies that require employees to be readily available at all times.

The more restrictive the policy, the higher the compensation should be to reflect the impact it has on your personal life and availability.

2. Your Regular Hourly Wage

Your regular hourly wage is another important factor in determining your on-call pay. If you have a higher regular wage, it’s reasonable to expect a higher on-call rate as well. This is because the on-call hours are an extension of your regular work hours, and you should be compensated accordingly for your time and availability.

3. Industry Standards

Industry standards also play a significant role in determining proper on-call pay. It’s essential to research and understand what other professionals in your industry are being paid for on-call work. This will help you negotiate a fair compensation package based on the market rates and prevent you from being underpaid.

4. On-Call Frequency

The frequency of on-call shifts is another crucial factor to consider. If you are frequently on-call, meaning you have to be available for a significant portion of your time, the compensation should reflect the level of commitment and availability required.

The more often you are on-call, the higher the pay should be to compensate for the impact on your personal life and potential disruptions.

5. Guaranteed Minimum Hours

Some companies offer guaranteed minimum hours for on-call shifts. This means that even if you don’t get called in, you will still receive compensation for a certain number of hours. This factor can significantly impact your on-call pay, as it provides a level of stability and financial security.

It’s important to clarify whether your on-call shifts come with a guaranteed minimum and negotiate a fair rate based on this additional benefit.

By considering these key factors, you can determine the proper on-call pay that reflects the level of commitment, availability, and impact on your personal life. Remember to research industry standards, negotiate based on your regular wage, and consider the frequency and restrictiveness of your on-call policy.

This will help ensure that you are adequately compensated for your on-call responsibilities.

Standard On-Call Pay Rates by Industry

Information Technology

In the rapidly evolving field of Information Technology (IT), on-call support is often a necessity to ensure that systems remain operational 24/7. IT professionals who find themselves on-call typically receive higher pay rates due to the highly technical nature of their work and the potential for urgent and critical issues to arise.

According to a survey conducted by Indeed, the average on-call pay rate for IT professionals ranges from $25 to $50 per hour, depending on the level of expertise and the specific responsibilities involved.


In the healthcare industry, the need for round-the-clock care and immediate response to emergencies makes on-call work a vital component of many healthcare professionals’ roles. Nurses, doctors, and other hospital staff who are on-call often receive additional compensation for their availability and willingness to respond to critical situations.

According to a report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on-call pay rates in the healthcare industry can vary significantly depending on the specific job role and level of experience.

Skilled Trades

Skilled trades such as electricians, plumbers, and HVAC technicians also frequently work on-call to address emergency repairs and maintenance issues. The on-call pay rates for skilled trades can vary depending on factors such as the location, the level of expertise, and the time of day or day of the week.

According to a survey conducted by the Salary.com, the average on-call pay for skilled tradespeople can range from $20 to $40 per hour.

Customer Service

In the customer service industry, on-call work often involves handling customer inquiries and resolving issues outside of regular business hours. Customer service representatives who are on-call may receive a flat rate or an additional hourly wage for their availability.

According to a study by Glassdoor, on-call pay rates in customer service typically range from $10 to $20 per hour, depending on the company and the level of experience.

Other Industries

On-call work is not limited to specific industries and can be found in various sectors. For example, security guards, delivery drivers, and even event planners may be required to be on-call to handle unforeseen circumstances.

The pay rates for on-call work in these industries can vary significantly depending on factors such as job responsibilities, location, and industry standards.

It’s important to note that the on-call pay rates mentioned above are general estimates and can vary based on individual employers, geographic location, and other factors. It’s always advisable to research industry-specific data and consult with professionals in your field to get a better understanding of the prevailing on-call pay rates in your industry.

Negotiating Higher On-Call Compensation

When it comes to being on-call, it’s important to ensure that you are adequately compensated for your time and availability. Here are some strategies to help you negotiate higher on-call pay:

Know Your Worth

Before entering any negotiation, it’s essential to understand your value and the impact you have on the organization. Consider factors such as your level of expertise, the demand for your skills, and the potential consequences of not having someone available on-call.

By knowing your worth, you can confidently advocate for fair compensation.

Compare to Industry Benchmarks

Research industry benchmarks to gain insight into what others in similar roles are being paid for on-call work. Websites like Payscale and Glassdoor provide salary information and can help you determine if your current compensation is in line with the market standard.

Use this data to support your case for higher pay.

Focus on Policy Restrictions

Examine your company’s on-call policy to identify any restrictions or limitations that may impact your compensation. For example, if there are strict rules around response times or limits on how many hours you can be on-call, make sure these factors are taken into account when discussing your pay.

Highlight the impact these restrictions have on your personal life and stress the importance of fair compensation for the added stress and inconvenience.

Request Higher Minimums

One effective strategy is to negotiate for higher minimum pay when you are on-call. This ensures that even if you don’t receive any calls or have to respond to any emergencies during your on-call shift, you still receive a fair compensation for your availability.

Present data or examples of scenarios where you were on-call but didn’t receive any calls to strengthen your case for higher minimums.

Ask About Alternatives

If the company is hesitant to increase your on-call pay, consider proposing alternative forms of compensation. This could include additional time off, flexible scheduling, or other benefits that would improve your work-life balance.

By offering alternatives, you demonstrate your willingness to find a mutually beneficial solution and increase your chances of reaching a favorable outcome.

Remember, negotiation is a two-way street. Approach the conversation with confidence, armed with research and a clear understanding of your value. By advocating for fair compensation, you can ensure that your on-call time is appropriately recognized and rewarded.

On-Call Pay Calculator Examples

Low-Wage Hourly Worker

For low-wage hourly workers, being on-call can be an important source of additional income. However, it is essential to ensure that they are fairly compensated for their availability. Let’s consider an example to understand how the on-call pay calculator works for a low-wage hourly worker.

Suppose Jane works at a retail store as a cashier, earning $10 per hour. Her employer requires her to be on-call for three days each week, with each shift lasting eight hours. Using an on-call pay calculator, we can determine her additional compensation for being on-call.

With the on-call pay calculator, we can input Jane’s regular hourly wage, the number of days she is on-call, and the duration of each shift. The calculator then calculates the additional pay Jane should receive for being on-call.

In this example, let’s say the calculator determines that Jane should receive an additional $2 per hour for being on-call. That means for each hour she is on-call, her pay increases to $12 per hour.

By using an on-call pay calculator, low-wage hourly workers like Jane can ensure they are getting paid appropriately for their availability and commitment to their job.

Salaried IT Professional

On-call responsibilities are not limited to hourly workers. Many salaried professionals, such as IT professionals, are also expected to be available outside of regular working hours. Let’s explore how an on-call pay calculator can be beneficial for a salaried IT professional.

Meet John, an IT professional working for a software development company. John’s employer requires him to be on-call for one week every month. During this week, John must be available 24/7 to handle any technical issues that may arise.

Using an on-call pay calculator, John can determine his additional compensation for this on-call duty.

By inputting his regular salary, the number of on-call weeks per month, and the expected workload during on-call periods, the calculator can determine John’s additional pay. Let’s say the calculator determines that John should receive an additional 10% of his monthly salary for being on-call.

This means that during the on-call week, John’s salary would increase by that percentage.

An on-call pay calculator helps salaried professionals like John ensure they are appropriately compensated for their availability and the added responsibilities they take on outside of regular working hours.

Nurse with Strict On-Call Policy

In certain professions, such as nursing, on-call duties are often governed by strict policies to ensure patient care and safety. Nurses who are required to be on-call face unique challenges, and it is crucial for them to understand their compensation using an on-call pay calculator.

Let’s consider Sarah, a nurse working at a hospital with a strict on-call policy. Sarah is required to be on-call for two 12-hour shifts every week. During these shifts, Sarah must be prepared to respond to emergencies and provide immediate medical care.

Using an on-call pay calculator, Sarah can determine her additional compensation for these on-call hours.

By entering her regular hourly wage, the number of on-call shifts per week, and the duration of each shift, the on-call pay calculator can determine Sarah’s additional pay. Suppose the calculator calculates that Sarah should receive an additional $5 per hour for being on-call.

This means that for each hour she is on-call, her pay increases by $5 above her regular hourly wage.

Using an on-call pay calculator is particularly important for nurses like Sarah, as it helps them understand and advocate for fair compensation for their on-call responsibilities.


Being on-call outside normal working hours can significantly disrupt your life. Make sure you’re fairly compensated by calculating a reasonable hourly rate based on your regular pay, industry standards, and your employer’s on-call policies.

Negotiating higher on-call pay improves your work-life balance. But if your employer won’t budge, discuss alternatives like less restrictive policies, fewer on-call hours, or more minimum pay guarantees.

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