Search form

Mandatory Overtime Legislation Gaining Momentum

By Roger P. Gilson Jr.
  • July 9, 2001

Staffing, overtime, and greater participation in patient care decision-making are among the most common themes in strikes, union contract negotiations and organizing efforts for acute care and long term care nursing staff. The State of Maine recently enacted the nation's first law limiting the amount of mandatory overtime that nurses may be required to work. Under the new law, nurses who refuse to work more than 12 consecutive hours may not be disciplined. The only exception is if there are "unforeseen emergency circumstances when overtime is required as a last resort to ensure patient safety." In such emergency situations, however, nurses who work in excess of 12 consecutive hours must receive at least 10 hours off before resuming work. According to the Maine State Nurses Association, the union that pushed for the law's passage, this law will prevent hospitals from using overtime in lieu of increased staffing.

While Maine is the first to enact such a law, several other states are considering similar legislation. In Pennsylvania, a bill drafted by the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association was introduced in the State Senate to prohibit mandatory overtime practices. The overtime and staffing issues have drawn national attention and were the focus of a national lobbying effort in conjunction with the second annual meeting of delegates of the United Nurses Association, the union arm of the American Nurses Association, which has recently voted to affiliate with the AFL-CIO.

©2001 Jackson Lewis P.C. This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between Jackson Lewis and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material. This material may be considered attorney advertising in some jurisdictions. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

Reproduction of this material in whole or in part is prohibited without the express prior written consent of Jackson Lewis P.C., a law firm that built its reputation on providing workplace law representation to management. Founded in 1958, the firm has grown to more than 900 attorneys in major cities nationwide serving clients across a wide range of practices and industries including government relations, healthcare and sports law. More information about Jackson Lewis can be found at

See AllRelated Articles You May Like

October 8, 2019

DOL Proposes FLSA Regulations to Close Door on ‘80/20’ Rule, Implement Tip Pooling Amendments

October 8, 2019

The Department of Labor (DOL) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on October 8, 2019, to eliminate the “20% Rule,” or “80/20 Rule,” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The 20% Rule, which first appeared in a DOL Field Operations Handbook (FOH) in 1988, requires employers to pay tipped employees the full minimum... Read More

October 7, 2019

No California Waiting-Time, Inaccurate Wage Statement Penalties Based on Unpaid Meal Period Premiums, Court Rules

October 7, 2019

Do meal period premiums trigger derivative liability for waiting-time penalties and inaccurate wage statements? The California Court of Appeal has ruled in the negative on the oft-asked question. Naranjo et al. v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc., No. B256232 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 26, 2019). The Court ruled that actions to recover... Read More

October 7, 2019

Common Mistakes Companies Make with Gig Economy Workers

October 7, 2019

It is no secret that traditional employers often benefit from non-traditional workplace arrangements available in the gig economy, such as relief from paying unemployment insurance and worker’s compensation plans or being exempt from many minimum wage or overtime laws that apply to the traditional employer-employee relationship.... Read More