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What is Work? - The Maryland Guide to Wage Payment and Employment Standards

Work is service performed by an employee at the request and under the control of an employer and, therefore, on the employer's time.

Work is compensable—that is, something for which an employee is entitled to be paid.

Work under the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law does not include volunteer service, if the individual took the job with the full and voluntary understanding that he or she would not be paid, there is in fact no employer-employee relationship, and the activity is performed for the benefit of a charitable, educational, not for profit, or religious organization.

Work does not necessarily require an employee to do or accomplish anything. Work may only involve fulfilling the requirements or following the directions of the employer—even where an employer instructs a worker to report to the jobsite at 7 AM and do nothing until called on. Work may even mean sleep time if a worker must remain on the premises for anytime less than 24 hours. Where free to leave without the possibility of consequence, the worker is on his or her own time, even if instructed to remain "on call" with a beeper, and may not be entitled to com-pensation. Once called back to work, however, compensation becomes due.