NYS Implements Measures to Limit Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
The Labor Law in New York State has undergone a recent update aimed at curbing the practice of mandatory overtime for nurses. The new legislation, which is now in effect, prohibits health care employers from compelling nurses to work beyond their regular hours, except in specific circumstances such as health care disasters, emergencies, or for the safety of patients during unforeseen medical procedures.
Recognizing the critical role nurses play in the state's health care system, NYS Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon stated, "We need to recognize their invaluable contributions by ensuring they have the support and protections they need to do their job effectively. This new law prevents burnout and empowers these essential workers to continue providing exceptional care to New York families statewide."
Under the updated law, health care employers are required to notify the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) when exceptions to limitations on mandatory overtime are utilized. Furthermore, additional reporting to both the NYSDOL and the Department of Health is necessary if exceptions are employed for fifteen or more days within a given month, or forty-five or more days within a consecutive three-month period. The legislation also establishes new monetary penalties for violations.
In addition, the updated law mandates that all covered health care employers display a poster, provided by the NYSDOL, in a prominent and easily accessible location for all employees. The poster, available in English and Spanish on the NYSDOL website, informs nurses of their rights and provides guidance on filing complaints if they believe they are being subjected to mandatory overtime in violation of the law. The law's coverage is expanded to include nurses employed by facilities licensed or operated by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.
To oversee the effective implementation of the law and take appropriate action against non-compliant health care employers, the NYSDOL has appointed Jeanette Lazelle, Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection, as Enforcement Officer.
To ensure widespread awareness of the new law among health care employers and nurses, an extensive campaign will be launched throughout the state.
NYS Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald emphasized the importance of the law, stating, "This new law offers a valuable tool for retaining nurses and rebuilding a resilient health care workforce. All patients deserve quality care, which is unfeasible for nurses who are often required to work shifts that stretch human capabilities."
Nurses who believe their employers are not adhering to the regulations have the option to file individual or group complaints. They can also seek assistance from their collective bargaining representative. Nurses who suspect their employer is violating the law can file a complaint online or contact (888) 4-NYSDOL or (518) 457-9000.
For more information on the new law and a list of frequently asked questions, both affected employers and employees can visit dol.ny.gov/mandatory-overtime-nurses.