I work in 3rd line technical support for a large multi national (non IT) company in the UK.

I am one of four engineers/developers with a varying mix of knowledge, expertise and experience. I am the youngest with only 10 years work experience as technical support, but 6 in this current employer. Whilst the other three have more experience than me (20-30 years+)

All four of us currently have had an unspoken arrangement whereby we have all been 'on call' for the last 6 years and not getting paid any extra, we have all just seen this as part of the job as there is no real alternative as other members of the IT team in the company do not have the detailed knowledge or access to the systems that we posses.

Management now want a proper process in place for us four engineers/developers to be on call out of hours sharing the responsibility 25% each. The company have other employees in other parts of the business in similar situations and management have told us that they are paid rather handsomely on top of their annual salary if they are called or not. They are proposing a similar situation with us four.

The companies definition of on call is just to be available within 15 minutes of accepting the initial call. We must accept the call within a reasonable time. IE it is acceptable to miss a call at 3am but to phone back within a reasonable amount of time after being woken up. We are not expected to stay awake when on call.

I have no reference point when it comes to being on call. I feel I could charge whatever I wish and the company will accept any amount I request as they have done so in the past when negotiating salaries. They do not have any other option as far as we see. But yet I do not want to seem to be greedy or over the top. I was thinking an additional 10% - 20% of my annual salary.

What is a typical on-call rate for this type of scenario?

UPDATE - June 2019:

I am now receiving 25% of my annual salary for being on call 50% of the year, but in reality I rarely get called out so seems reasonable and fair for my circumstances.

  • 1
    Can you trim this question down? There is a lot of filler that I don't think is required for the question and makes it a bit hard to follow Jul 13, 2017 at 13:39
  • Have edited it down. Is that better?
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:43
  • 2
    I disagree @gnat I do not want to know what my salary should be. I already know this. The accepted answer does not specifically mention additional extras like being on call and I am not aware of that functionality in Glassdoor.
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:11
  • @davidb most logical thing to do to see whats reasonable and whats not for your company is to scout a bit what the other department's agreements are about. Then you can proceed accordingly.
    – Leon
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:39
  • @Leon Yes that was my thoughts but we do not know who they even are (its a big company)
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:41

3 Answers 3


I am on call as 3rd line application support one week out of every three in a UK branch of a large multinational, and get paid £750 per week on top of my salary - irrespective of whether I get called or not.

If I am called, the first hour spent working a call is unpaid, every extra hour is paid as 1.5x salary (2x at weekends).

For that, I'm on call 24/7, with a requirement to be online and working the problem within 30 minutes of the initial call (60 minutes at weekends) - i.e. I can just about make it to the local shops, but otherwise i've got to stay near the phone /laptop. I cover a range of mission-critical applications (Java, legacy C) with 10+ years experience of fixing operational issues, although that's no longer my day job.

  • One other thought, I volunteer to be on call, so i'm not required to do it and therefore it is not in my contract. Partly do it for the money, partly because I enjoy it (!), and partly because we're thin on the ground and there's not really anyone else...
    – strmqm
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:54
  • £750 a week, on top of salary? Legit, some of my friends have probably not even earned that much this year.
    – DCON
    Jul 13, 2017 at 15:42
  • Is the £750 per week extra just for the weeks that you are on call? i.e. 1 week in every three? Jun 26, 2019 at 1:47
  • Yeah, that's right - so roughly 17 weeks per year.
    – strmqm
    Jun 26, 2019 at 13:36

Working at a large UK based non-IT multinational like yourself - I think hoping for 10-20% of you annual salary might be a little hopeful.

The first thing I'd say is that given the company already has Stand By policies agreed with other areas of the business, I imagine any arrangement you have will be very similar.

Our staff that are on call are paid between £2 to £3 per hour of being on standby, and then time and a half for any work they actually have to undertake. There is a minimum one hour charge, and then anything worked over that is pro rata.

For example;

  • An engineer called out for 15 minutes will be paid for one hour, and 1.5 times their normal hourly rate.
  • An engineer called out for 2 hours and 10 minutes, will be paid for that time at 1.5 times their normal rate.

(Having said you might be hopeful, I've no idea actually what the above arrangement earns our on-call staff!)

  • I got the impression from management that the others on call in other areas of the business are paid handsomely as stated in the question. I would say @strmqm was paid handsomely for being on call.
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:57
  • I would too :) but the short response times have quite a impact on my life outside work so it's not all roses. For reference it works out at about 18% of my salary.
    – strmqm
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:59
  • @strmqm Is definitely being paid handsomely. Our staff have to have answered the call within 30 minutes I believe. There are also some times when we require folk to be on hot-standby - which means they're physically logged on ready to fix things if needed. Obviously they're paid more for that. Stmgm - I'd love to know who you work for!!
    – thebluefox
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:04
  • On call to support operations at a FTSE100 company
    – strmqm
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:13
  • @strmqm - Ditto!
    – thebluefox
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:18

This should all be in your contract.

The way my contract is worded (exactly) it says:

When the employer requires an employee to be available on stand by during off-duty hours an employee shall be compensated at the rate of one-half (1/2) hour for every four (4) hour period or portion thereof for which he has been designated as being on stand by duty

There is also a whole other section that says what happens if we get called. If I get a call, I automatically get paid for a minimum for 3 hours regardless of how much I worked. If I worked more than that I will get paid for the extra I worked

You contract should have something similar. Keep in mind that my quote comes from a Canadian contract so your mileage may vary.

  • There is no mention of over time or being on call in our contracts. All it says is we are required to work 37.5 hours per week Monday to Friday between the hours of 8am and 6pm. I believe this will be added when we have an agreement in place.
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:50
  • There may be a law that would dictate this in the event that it is not in your contract. I am not very familiar with UK labor laws. Jul 13, 2017 at 14:15
  • This is all the government say about working overtime in the UK gov.uk/overtime-your-rights
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:19
  • Yikes based on that they don't really have to pay you at all for any overtime/stand by. You could asked, but I have a funny feeling they will just say no as there doesn't appear to be an obligation. Jul 13, 2017 at 14:21
  • I think you should re-read my question. They are offering to compensate us financially for being on call. The question is, how much should we demand based on other peoples experiences?
    – medina
    Jul 13, 2017 at 14:30

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