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Nurses Overtime


Nursing overtime lawsuits are on the rise. Some overtime lawsuits for nurses have been based upon missed meal breaks. Other nurses overtime lawsuits received settlements for work before and after shifts. Across the US, millions of dollars in settlements have been paid out for nurses wage and hour lawsuits .

Many hospitals and residential health care, assisted living and group homes do not pay proper overtime to nurses and other employees. Health care industry pay practices are the target of 250 new Labor Department wage-and-hour investigators (an increase of one-third), as reported by The New York Times (Aug 2010). Fewer than 36 percent of employers investigated in New York were in compliance with federal overtime law.

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Overtime for Nurses

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) generally requires an employee pay rate of at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour, and payment of one-and-a-half times the regular rate of pay for any overtime hours worked in excess of 40 each week, unless employees are found to be exempt.

Non-Exempt Nurse Employees

nurses_overtimeNon-exempt employees must be paid for all hours worked, including work performed before or after shifts, during scheduled meal breaks, meetings, and paid training. Hours worked include hours worked at all facilities and departments or on-call, and the regular rate should include shift differential, bonuses or on-call fees.

Non-exempt employees are generally entitled to overtime at a time-and-a-half rate, including:

- Registered nurses (RN) who are paid on an hourly basis. (However, registered nurses on a salary of at least $455 per week who are registered with a state examining board are typically ineligible for overtime pay under the learned professional exemption.)
- Most licensed practical nurses (LPN), as they do not need a specialized advanced degree, and therefore do not qualify for the professional exemption.
- Most nursing home and assisted living employees who are paid on an hourly basis and who work more than 40 hours a week (rare exceptions exist).

Nursing care facilities may pay overtime over 40 hours each 7 day week, or, under an "8 and 80"agreement with employees, pay overtime over 8 hours a day and 80 hours every 14 days. For more information, see Nursing Care Facilities under FLSA To be ineligible for overtime pay, employees must be paid a salary of at least $23,600 ($455 per week) AND perform exempt job duties as identified by the FLSA.

Nurses Exempt from Overtime

Section 13(a)(1) of the FLSA exempts bona fide executive or administrative workers or the "learned professions" from overtime pay. Exempt status is determined by an employee's actual work activities. Employers must ensure an employee meets the exemption requirements, including salaried or fee pay of not less than $455 per week. Payment of salary and per patient or hourly pay may compromise exemption, and fees should not be based on time taken to complete a task.

Registered nurses paid hourly should receive overtime pay, as should licensed practical nurses. However, registered nurses registered by a state examining board generally meet duty requirements to be exempted as learned professionals, if paid a salary of $455 or more a week.

The learned professional exemption specifies that a nurse' primary work duty must require advanced knowledge in science or learning acquired through specialized and prolonged intellectual instruction, and be intellectual work that requires consistent discretion and judgment.

There is also an exemption for home health care "companionship"; however, neither registered nor practical trained nurses are exempt from minimum wage or overtime under it. Nurses employed in domestic service in households are covered by the FLSA, but registered nurses are exempt if they perform nursing duties and are paid a salary or on a "fee basis".

For more information, see Nursing Care Facilities under FLSA Other state laws and regulations complicate the Fair Labor Standards Act regulations; however, entitlements are governed by the law that is more favorable for workers and provides greater worker protection. (For more information, see FLSA Overtime Pay)

Nursing Overtime Lawsuits

Nursing overtime lawsuits are on the rise. In nursing overtime lawsuits, missed meal breaks are a common issue, especially in the case of automatic meal break deductions when a break may not have been taken. The employer must ensure a meal break uninterrupted by phone calls, consultations or patient needs is provided for hourly paid employees if they do not want to pay the employee for that time. In other nursing lawsuits, employers required workers to work before or after their shifts. Additionally, home care agencies have not paid employees for travel time between home visits.

Some US hospitals and health care networks are involved in overtime class action lawsuits:

- Hundreds of current and former hourly workers of Heritage Enterprises are proceeding with a class action based on automatic 30-minute meal deductions by a computerized system, though employees commonly worked through the break (Illinois).
- Non-exempt nurses are filing an unpaid overtime suit against Lehigh Valley Health Network . alleging that pay was calculated per shift rather than hourly, that nurses were required to attend at least 15-minute briefings before and after shifts, and that they worked unpaid extra hours routinely.

Nursing Overtime Settlements

Other health care providers have paid millions to settle unpaid wage and hour claims, such as:

- Over $1.7m in back wages for 4000 employees from SSM Health Care (St. Louis, 2010)
- More than $2.7m in overtime back wages for 700 employees from Partners HealthCare System (Boston, 2009)
- $7.25m from Kaiser Permanente (who denied wrongdoing) to hundreds of allegedly improperly exempted registered nurse coordinators, case managers and other medical workers (California, 2007)
- $85 million from Tenet Healthcare Corp. (California, 2009) for nurses allegedly denied overtime pay on 12-hour shifts through a reduced hourly rate
- A $1.9 million class action settlement for understaffed nurse and non-nurse employees of Valley Presbyterian Hospital (California, 2009) who were routinely denied required meal and rest breaks to comply with state nurse to patient ratios.

Nursing Overtime Legal Help

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NURSES OVERTIME LEGAL ARTICLES AND INTERVIEWS

Arkansas Supreme Court Affirms Class-Action Status in Nursing Overtime Lawsuit
Arkansas Supreme Court Affirms Class-Action Status in Nursing Overtime Lawsuit
July 17, 2015
Little Rock, AR Nurses remain the unsung heroes of medicine, regardless of jurisdiction. Thus, it appears patently unfair and unjust when nurses accuse their employers of stiffing them from overtime for work performed outside of their shifts, and when working through meal breaks. A Nursing Overtime Lawsuit seeking class-action status in Arkansas will go ahead after the state’s Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling that class-action status is warranted [READ MORE]

Nurses Fight for Overtime Pay
Nurses Fight for Overtime Pay
December 28, 2012
Seattle, WA When it comes to overtime pay for nurses, people tend to think that after eight hours of work, the nurses receive their overtime pay. But as nursing overtime lawsuits show, the issue is not as cut-and-dried as that. For example, nurses are scheduled to take certain rest breaks but often work through those breaks, without pay. That adds extra hours of work to a day, without extra compensation [READ MORE]

Nurses Win Long Battle Over Nurses' Overtime For Missed Breaks
Nurses Win Long Battle Over Nurses' Overtime For Missed Breaks
November 4, 2012
Olympia, WA While front-line service workers are often represented by unions and therefore can take advantage of various perks and workplace advantages entrenched in a contract to uphold safety on the job, circumstances may not permit a scheduled lunch break, or rest period. There is no more a truism here, than with the nursing profession, when the needs of a patient or a medical emergency do not wait until the end of a coffee break. The issue: when a rest period is missed to which the nurse is entitled, should that individual be paid nurse's overtime [READ MORE]




READER COMMENTS

Posted by
sissy ward
on
i am a cma that work three full jobs friday are hard for me i work 24 hours i asked my job to let me off they say we dont have the staff to cover it what should i do .

Posted by
Andrea baker
on
I am running into the same problem, I am an RN for a home health company and am prn but work full time hours plus. I get no pay for drive time, extra time spent charting etc. no incentive, no bonus no raise in 5 years. I've been there longer than any other RN. Can we find a way to change this so we aren't working for free?

Posted by
Connie Blankenship
on
I am a HOSPICE RN who is salaried. We work many days 8 hours in the field and then spend 2 to 3 hours charting at night. We are on call and are paid a very small incentive. When we are called out we get a set fee for the visit no matter how many miles we drive or how much time it takes to get there plus the visit could be 30 minutes to 3 hours according to patient needs. When We are on call on the weekends we ate on call for 48 hours in a row. We get compensated the same rates per visit after hours and weekends. This rate is the same rate they pay a PRN nurse during the day.sometimes we work 50 hours in a week then on call at night and weekends. There is no premium pay. Do we have ANY RECOURSE other than quitting.

Posted by
Bethany Carlson
on
I work as a registered nurse, we have an opposite problem where we work. We are a surgical unit and are slow so the company instituted a low census policy. They told us we would be aggressively fought if we tried to file unemployment and if we needed hours we could go work in another facility they own. Problem is these facilities are sometimes 90 min to 2 hours away. We have no training or inadequate training in these facilities. Some are small hospitals and we have been told we could staff those. My issue with all of this, if I work a 12 hour shift Nf am driving 90 min to 2 hrs plus an hour to shower before I go that is less than 8 hours to sleep much less than spend time with our children. Also most of us have been orthopedic nurses since we graduated nursing school, now we con be sent where ever. I mean would you want an orthopedic surgery doing brain surgery on you? What are our rights and options.

Posted by
Illinois
on
I work in a hospital doing acute dialysis. I currently get paid per treatment. They are changing our pay to hourly which will decrease my salary to about half what I currently make. G=For the past 11 years I have been paid per treatment and did not receive holiday pay or any incentives for being called in. Am I entitled to any back pay?

Posted by
Janelle Martinez
on
I am an RN who works 12 hour shifts. Recently our hospital changed our "on call" status to. "Flex" stairs when the hospital is over staffed. Before the new "flex" we would be put on call and paid an on call rate, if we had to be called in then we would be paid time and a half for the hours worked. Now that we are being "flexed" we get a call in the early am and are told we are flexed until 11 but will be called by 9 if they do not need us. We do not get paid for the hours "flexed" unless we use our paid time off and when and if we get called in our pay is our base rate. Is this legal? I feel like just because the wording changed we are no longer getting compensated appropriately for essentially being on-call.

Posted by
Conquesla Richardson
on
I work for a company that I travel many miles a day, and visit pt, about 4 to 5 pt a day each pt is about 35 to 1 hour apart depending on the day, that's not including the prn visits, plus they want us to chart while we are at the pt's home, by the time we get finish with the day, it's over 8 hours, and that's not charting in the home or taking a lunch, but we are told when time sheets go in, we need to take out 30 minutes or the company will take it anyway, and we spend most of our nights charting at home to try and keep up. C. L. L.

Posted by
sonj88
on
Is it mandatory for "hourly" nurses to work holidays? I am not part time or full time

Posted by
Kimberly Jones
on
I am a prn nurse for hospice in Ky. I pick up days on the weekends. They "bubble" me in just to have the third person if they need me. It is a 15 bed facility, I can only work if there are 13 patient's. I'm on-call for the full 12 hours, without any pay. is this legal? Can they mandate you to work an extra shift?

Posted by
MN aide
on
I work at an assisted living home in MN. We have been having chronic open shifts left on the schedules and my coworkers are being mandated to stay and work double shifts whether we are float or not. Is there a MN state law or federal law that protects aides against excessive mandates? people have worked 2-3 double shifts in a row.

personally I had been required to work 16 hrs, have 8 off (1.5 spent driving) and return the following day to work.

any advice

Posted by
Josh
on
My pregnant girlfriend works 12 hr night shift at the Reading hospital. We only have a month to go until our little girl is here. I'm constantly getting upset because the hospital doesn't have enough staff to relieve her for a break or a lunch. I'm concerned for the our baby and her mother. Isn't there a law that states in a 12 hr shift the employee should be given two 15 min breaks and a half hour lunch?

Posted by
A.c.f
on
Ive been working in an agency for some time now doing anywhere from 12-16 hour shifts without getting my break times and if I do they only say I cantake 10 minutes?? I should be getting much longer than 10 minutes its not fair to me....how do I go about getting this set up so they stop this?!

Posted by
Lori
on
I am a nurse in a long term care facility. One of my fellow nurses was forces to work a 21 hour shift. It was actually to be 24 hours straight I believe there is a law stating how many hours a nurse could work in a 24 hour period. I am in Illinois. Is ththere any statues regarding this?

Posted by
craig sanborn
on
My wife got promoted to charge nurse a year ago and is still on a hourly wage. Since she promoted she picks up extra shifts and does not get overtime for it. She said they told her thats how it has always been. I find it hard to believe she can work extra days for her regular hourly wage.

Posted by
Mississippi
on
I worked for many years at a hospital where we put in seven days on and seven days off. However, since they begin the work week on a Wednesday, we only have three days one week and four days the next. That way, they only had to give us 8 hours of overtime. Is this legal?

Posted by
Arkansas
on
Pennsylvania-FLSA Specifically states that LPN's are not exempt from overtime. Contact the USDOL. CNA's are exempt presently pending court challenges

Posted by
Pennsylvania
on
I work 60 hours a week, mandatory as a home health nurse (LPN) in the state of MD. All with the same client. I was told this is legal because nurses, aides etc. are exempt from the overtime law and so have to work for the regular hourly wage regardless if it is over 40 a week. Is this true?

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