Nurse Overtime Pay Regulations
The controversy around nurses working too many overtime hours continues to rage across the country. New legislation proposed by the Department of Labor will attempt to bring the field of nursing more in line with other similar occupations. Overtime used to be at the discretion of the employer, and a lot of employees were penalized when they didn’t want to work extra shifts.
Currently registered nurses are paid for overtime at the time and a half rate. However working professionals in many states have expressed dissatisfaction with labor conditions, saying they were often asked to work overtime regardless of the fact that they had just finished working and were exhausted. Airline pilots are not allowed to fly a plane after so many hours in the air.
The same standard should be applied to nursing, where a mistake made due to exhaustion could be very serious. Employers cite the lack of trained professionals to fill these positions, saying they are forced to work with what they have, and that they do their best to make sure no one is overworked.
There is also concern that legislation might be passed that allows hospitals to not pay an overtime wage, but instead to retain the worker at their original salary. This is a popular idea in places where times are tough, and hospitals are struggling to meet the bills. However, Department of Labor officials feel this would be an unwise move, with so many people struggling to make ends meet. A nurse who finds their overtime pay reduced might just go seek employment elsewhere.
There is legislation in place in most states, that protect nurses from having to work mandatory overtime. There is not uniform legislation in place regarding compensation for overtime, that debate is still ongoing. The government should pick up the tab for all healthcare costs. More nurses need to be trained and hired, and the United States needs to take better care of the nurses they have.
You can see how much registered nurse make in each state.