ACTION ALERT: Urge Governor to Veto Mandatory Nurse Overtime Bills
LeadingAge NY strongly opposes three bills related to the use of mandatory nurse overtime in long term care settings. The below-referenced bills impose additional penalties on providers that mandate nurse overtime and expand the scope of the mandatory overtime prohibition to include home care agencies. While we agree that overtime should be a last resort for hard-working nurses, the enactment of this legislation in the context of statewide nursing shortages will only reduce access to long term care and other health care services and jeopardize the well-being of patients and residents.
The three bills, which are expected to be delivered to the Governor's desk for action imminently, amend existing Section 167 of the Labor Law, which currently prohibits health care facilities from requiring nurses to work beyond their regularly scheduled hours, except under limited circumstances such as a natural disaster, a federal or state health care emergency, a provider-determined emergency, or an ongoing medical or surgical procedure. The bills amend Section 167 in different and inconsistent ways as follows:
- A.181-A/S.4885-A (Gunther/Savino) adds home care agencies and visits to the current law, thereby prohibiting home care agencies from requiring a registered professional nurse (RN) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to work more than that nurse’s regularly scheduled work hours and home care visits. Unlike the other bills, it does not specify enhanced penalties for home care agencies, require a 15 percent reward for overtime hours, or narrow existing exemptions from the prohibition on overtime. LeadingAge NY's memo of opposition is available here.
- A.286-A/S.1997-A (Gunther/Jackson) specifies penalties for violations of Section 167, beginning at $1,000 and increasing to $3,000 for repeat violations. The bill also mandates, for each violation, an additional 15 percent of the overtime payment to nurses who work mandatory overtime. Unlike A.181-A/S.4885-A, it does not include home care nursing services. LeadingAge NY's memo of opposition is available here.
- A.8874-B/S.8063-A (Joyner/Ramos) also specifies penalties for violations of Section 167, beginning at $1,000 and increasing to $5,000 for repeat violations occurring within three years, and for each violation mandates an additional 15 percent of the overtime payment to nurses who work mandatory overtime. Unlike the other two bills, it narrows the existing exceptions to the mandatory overtime ban by reinstating the ban within three days after a health care disaster and at the end of a declaration of emergency or within 30 days, whichever is shorter. Unlike A.181-A/S.4885-A, it does not include home care nursing services. LeadingAge NY's memo of opposition is available here.
To ensure that our opposition to these bills was heard, LeadingAge NY sent a comprehensive letter to the Governor on Oct. 19th, urging that each one be vetoed. That letter is available here.
Additionally, we encourage our members to write to the Governor in opposition to these bills using the below links. These digital advocacy letters only take a few clicks to send and will help ensure that these bills do not get signed into law!
- Oppose Penalties for Mandatory Overtime in Nursing Homes
- Oppose Restrictions on Mandatory Nurse Overtime in Home Care
We will keep members apprised of any action on these bills and will send out an additional action alert once the bills are delivered for action. In the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions.
Contact: Sarah Daly, email@example.com