Questions about hours, OT, and quitting job

  1. Hi everyone.
    I recently quit my first nursing job (got hired at another facility). I have a question: Is it pretty much the norm for nurses to work *unpaid* for up to an hour after their shift ends doing paperwork? I wasn't salaried, yet I'd be there on average a half hour after my shift ended (sometimes longer) doing paperwork, charting, etc. I'd clock out and when I'd get my pay stub, the hours would read 8.00 each day. Like I wasn't even there that extra half hour, just wiped right off the record.

    Does anyone else have experience with this? They'd tell us we'd have to get prior auth to get paid overtime, but they wouldn't pay you overtime if you were "just charting". Yet, the whole reason I didn't get my charting done was because of well, patient care.

    Since I am new, I just wondered if this was a standard in the profession. That wasn't the reason I quit that job; there were unsafe staffing conditions among everything else (they changed DON's like you'd change a newborn's diaper....)

    Thanks so very much in advance,
    Emma
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   letina
    I'm a British nurse, been working here in the US for 7 months now. Nurses in the UK are salaried so there were many times we worked past our time but didn't get paid for it, so I'm kinda used to that scenario. However, since I've been working here, I've always got paid for any time I've had to stay to catch up. I work 7a-7p and consider myself lucky if I ever get off the floor before 7.30 (busy med/surg). Same goes for the rest of the nurses I work with, we all get paid right up to the minute we leave, no questions asked.
  4. by   Purdue_Nurse
    Emma, my last position was in an ICU and it was very rare I got out on time. I was almost always there a half hour to an hour late. But, at that hospital we were hourly employees so we did get paid. It didn't count as overtime or anything but if we had to stay late for whatever reason we got paid for it.
  5. by   CritterLover
    i think the scenerio that you describe is fairly common.

    however, i also think that it violates many labor laws in the us.
  6. by   caliotter3
    In my LTC jobs, unpaid overtime was the norm. Actually told during part of orientation on at least one occasion that it was expected that I would report 15 min early for a walk-thru w/offgoing nurse. She would have to clock out at the correct time and I would clock in at the correct time. At another job, we routinely did not clock out for lunch cuz we worked thru lunch, then mgmt told us we had to start clocking out, no matter what we did about working or taking a lunch break. I routinely work overtime, usually charting, and have my own criteria for requesting pay. To me it is not an issue, when it becomes an issue (i.e. same person routinely very late, causing me to be late), then I will say something about the situation. In other situations (home hlth) I will request paid overtime if it is appropriate.
  7. by   fetch33
    Emma, that isn't right. I think I'd be looking for a different job. Where I work, OT is the norm most days. I used to work at a place where OT was frowned upon. But, there was a log book where you wrote and explanation of why you were off work late and they never questioned it. My current complaint of where I work is the rate of pay for OT. You'd think you were getting time and a half. But if you read the policy and your paycheck, you get time and a half of your 'regular rate', which is some kind of average they have come up with. It works out to be more like time and one quarter-one third. So I make about $6 more an hour when I should be making $16. I like where I work or it would be a major issue.
  8. by   jimthorp
    Quote from Emma123
    Hi everyone.
    I recently quit my first nursing job (got hired at another facility). I have a question: Is it pretty much the norm for nurses to work *unpaid* for up to an hour after their shift ends doing paperwork? I wasn't salaried, yet I'd be there on average a half hour after my shift ended (sometimes longer) doing paperwork, charting, etc. I'd clock out and when I'd get my pay stub, the hours would read 8.00 each day. Like I wasn't even there that extra half hour, just wiped right off the record.

    Does anyone else have experience with this? They'd tell us we'd have to get prior auth to get paid overtime, but they wouldn't pay you overtime if you were "just charting". Yet, the whole reason I didn't get my charting done was because of well, patient care.

    Since I am new, I just wondered if this was a standard in the profession. That wasn't the reason I quit that job; there were unsafe staffing conditions among everything else (they changed DON's like you'd change a newborn's diaper....)

    Thanks so very much in advance,
    Emma

    Better check your labor laws. If you are hourly you should be paid for all hours you work. Also keep accurate track of your actual time worked so you know how much they owe you.

    As long as I am hourly I had better get paid for every minute I work or my employer will have have some explainin' to do to my attorney.
  9. by   deehaverrn
    Some people believe in the whole "altruistic angels of mercy" thing, I think that hospitals and other employers take full advantage of this. Many nurses came into the profession because they are such giving people and truly want to help others. HOWEVER I believe that nurses who work for little or nothing are really hurting the profession. This is why, if we don't consider ourselves worthy of fair compensation, why would others? If they (administrators) can take advantage of someone who is willing to do the work for free, it obviously increases their profit margin. This goes for so many nurses who I know are only trying to help, and don't realize that they are hurting all of us in the long run. From the nurses who are so happy to find a job with good hours and no holidays that they'll take less than half the average salary just to work in a doctors office.( they need nurses there--so if everyone demanded fair payment they'd be forced to do so). To the nurses who work through lunch or after shift but don't put in for it..labor laws do apply, so if you ask, your employer HAS to pay.
    I care about my patients as much as anyone, but if you want respect you have to start somewhere. If any of you are rich, maybe you should consider being a volunteer, otherwise, you deserve to be paid. This is what I do, my job, I'm not doing it for fun. So I must get money for it, that's how I pay MY bills! As far as those that say, "it was only 15 minutes", when was the last time you saw a doctor, a dentist, or a lawyer, and they said.."no charge...it was only 15 minutes"
  10. by   LoveMyBugs
    I don't know about normal for LTC, but it is breaking labor laws. Before I stared going to school I worked for a large restaurant chain that was sued in a class action lawsuit, because it was not paying employees for all yours worked, ex. making employees work off the clock, not giving them lunch breaks. After the law suit, the company drilled into our heads the labor laws for our state. Each state has different parameters for how many breaks you get within the hours you work. In Oregon if you work 5:59 minutes your entitled to one 10min break. The minute you hit 6hours you get two ten minute and one unpaid 30 lunch. For your lunch break you must be relived of all duties and if it is not then your lunch must be paid. The only difference is if you are salaried, and then the company owns you and can work you how they want. These laws need to be posted somewhere in your facility so employees can read them. If the company is not complying then they could be sued. My former employer ended up settling in somewhere of the 10million dollar range. Also why would you want to work for free? This send a message to the company that it is okay, I dont think any large company cares that you stayed and put in your own time to get the job done, thats time from your family that you are not getting paid for.
  11. by   KaroSnowQueen
    Do NOT work off the clock. Many facilities seem to have a culture of this. However, I have always refused to do this, and didn't catch much flack from the powers that be over it, although some of the other nurses let me know that I shouldn't stay on the clock, that I shouldn't take breaks, that I shouldn't take lunch, etc.
    Not this chick. If I'm not paid, I'm not doing it.
  12. by   JaxiaKiley
    Sounds to me like they owe you some money.
  13. by   RunningWithScissors
    Years ago, one of the managers at my hospital was turned in for altering the employee's clock-ins. They had to pay a fine and the state still hounds them. This is a VIOLATION OF FEDERAL LABOR LAW.

    What really bugs me, though, is that most of our night shift starts arriving an hour or so early, getting in your way as you are trying to wrap up your shift. They don't clock in, just start checking charts and whatnot. They do it off the clock, which I consider absurd!!! Good grief, if you want to work for free, volunteer at the county clinic or something!!!

    I agree with the previous poster, this kind of behavior only hurts nursing and validated the employer's impression that we are not professionals worthy of consideration.

    when was the last time you saw a doctor, a dentist, or a lawyer, and they said.."no charge...it was only 15 minutes"
    Amen, sister!!!!
    Last edit by RunningWithScissors on Jan 17, '07
  14. by   chenoaspirit
    look in the staff handbook and see what their policies are. They may do it, but honestly it isnt right. If thats how they plan to do things then the nursing care should end in time to allow charting to get done while next shift takes over (not going to happen though). I would be pretty ticked off if they did that where I work. Well, honestly, I just wouldnt work there! I have had to stay over several times when pt codes and the paperwork and meds get behind with my other patients. I had to stay 3 hours late one time due to a code. Ive had to stay over to get charting done because of demanding/needy patients keeping me at their bedside. But I got paid for it. I would definitely check the policy.

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