Is this legal? What can we do?

  1. I know that I have been ranting a lot lately about the new owners of my facility. Today, they posted a memo that says that from now on that employees were not going to be paid for our 30 minute lunch. To get benefits in our facility you have to work 38 hours a week. Most of us are barely getting in forty hours now that they have eliminated "all" overtime. they have gotten so severe that I got a verbal warning today for clocking out at 10:09pm instead of 10:00. The schedule clerk has been scheduling three CNAs on AB unit and three CNAs on C unit. They have begun sending the third CNA home at eight instead of ten like we had been scheduled. These two things knock the aides down from a forty hour work week to a 35.5 hour work week. To get benefits at the facility you work a 38 hour week. They are rotating the short shifts between the unit CNAs. We just figured it out tonight that no one is going to be eligible for health insurance, retirement, vacations, or sick time :angryfire. To me this just seems wrong. The facility is in debt but now "everyone" is threatening to quit. I love my residents but I will not work in a facility with no staff. I will head out the door with the rest of the staff. What can we do? Some people depend on these benefits.
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  2. 28 Comments

  3. by   RN4ustat
    The health insurance thing is defiantely illegal. There is a federal law that mandates any employee that works more than 20 hours per week is to be offered health insurance. I can't recall the name of the law, but you could do an online search. Good luck!!
  4. by   mscsrjhm
    Make sure that you make copies of everything posted, and document, document, document. Include witnesses' names. It is so very easy for administration to simply deny everything. Contact your states' hour and wage board. They can give you info regarding lunch/breaks.

    Good Luck
    Mschrisco
  5. by   suzanne4
    Federal law requires breaks and lunch-time unless they are waived by the employee by prior arrangement. (wanting to go home early). They can not legally do that.

    An anonymous call to the labor board always helps.
    Good luck and let us know what happens.
  6. by   Tweety
    Quote from suzanne4
    Federal law requires breaks and lunch-time unless they are waived by the employee by prior arrangement. (wanting to go home early). They can not legally do that.

    An anonymous call to the labor board always helps.
    Good luck and let us know what happens.

    The law requires lunch breaks, but doesn't have to pay you for them. The op didn't state they weren't going to get lunch breaks, just weren't going to get paid for them. My employer doesn't pay for lunch either. But it does other breaks.
  7. by   Tweety
    Quote from RN4ustat
    The health insurance thing is defiantely illegal. There is a federal law that mandates any employee that works more than 20 hours per week is to be offered health insurance. I can't recall the name of the law, but you could do an online search. Good luck!!
    Maybe an Oklahoma law. But here only full-time employees are given benefits. It was only in the last 10 years that people working 3 12-hour shifts were considered full-time.

    Maybe part-timers must be offered health insurance, but they probably have to pay high costs for them.

    The op's employer is practicing age-old time honored practices of cutting costs by screwing employees. Unethical yes, illegal? Probably not. Big business has been doing this for ages, especially during tougher economic times.

    But they are really cutting their nose off to spite their face as they are going to loose good employees, experience a labor shortage, have a bad reputation in the community, then have to offer increased pay and benefits to woo them back.
  8. by   TiffyRN
    Small town hospitals in particular (certainly not exclusively) know they can get away with this kind of thing because they know several things. Most hospital workers are female who can't move because of family committments or economic status. They know they are often the only healthcare facility of their kind (smaller town usually = one hospital and/or one LTC) and so employees can't choose another facility without moving.

    I feel really bad for the OP. I don't think what the facility is doing is illegal, but they know they can probably get away with it if there aren't many choices for their employees. Course I'm assuming here that you work in a hospital that doesn't have much competition or there would likely be a quick and massive exodus.
  9. by   Destinystar
    In order to get the correct information call the Labor Board. In California no one gets paid for their 30 minute break. In California a full time employee is defined in the employee handbook, usually one who works on an average of about 40 hours a week (not counting 30 minute break times).

    It's a fact of life most nursing homes have to make cutbacks in order to survive financially. If they cannot make money then they will be out of business and things will get worse and people will loose their jobs altogether. It does screw up the nursing hours not to mention demonstrates a lack of responsibility when employees do not clock in & out on time.

    When census is low, and most of the patients are on medicaid it is hard for the nursing homes to make money.

    Make up your mind what it is you want from a job if it is full time hours and benefits, then dont accept a position unless that is offered to U.

    If I was in your situation I would look into the companies policy on write ups, usually the policy requires a supervisor to give you a verbal warning first. If someone violated the policy you could put a formal grievance in writing and see if the write up could be removed from your record.

    Sounds like your unhappy and would be happier working for a facility that had the hours, benefit and a better attitude towards the staff.

    GOOD LUCK!!!!!
  10. by   Chad_KY_SRNA
    The problem is we have no idea what any of the new managements policies are. They have given no one policy manuals and we had been operating under the old manual but now they are switching to their policies. It would be nice to know before they start writing people up. I got the verbal warning that comes before a right-up but it still goes in my employee file. My best friend is going around to the other facilities in the area and she said she would pick me up applications wherever she went. I have been there and worked short, I have been the only CNA for 40 residents some nights, I hate it and do not wish to do it again any time soon. They have been having inservices every friday, I think that these would be good issues to raise today at the inservice. It could get ugly, cover me, I'm going in! LOL!
  11. by   CoffeeRTC
    sounds legal, but not right...find out what the staffing mins are for your state. Then make some calls to the state (if you're not meeting the min staffing hrs) As far as the rest goes....thats why some places unionize.
  12. by   rjflyn
    Personally i'd let my feet do my talking, there is too much of a shortage of health care workers- ie not just nurses. I wouldnt put up with anyones BS, and if its a small place and enough of you feel that way sounds like a touch of the blue flu might go along ways. If you arent comfortable with that like I said my feet would do my talking, i'd be out of there.
    One other thing all the places I have worked dont pay you for lunch, but we also started the shift either 15 mins before the hour and ended it at 15 mins after or some other version that we were there for 8hr and 30mins or 12hrs 15 or what ever, getting paid for the full hours.


    Rj
    Last edit by rjflyn on Jun 11, '04
  13. by   elkpark
    I've never worked anywhere where I've gotten paid for my lunch break. Also, the employers may be mandated to offer you health insurance, but they're certainly not mandated to pay for it. Sounds like a sucky situation, but I'm sure the new management people have made sure that it's all legal.

    I agree with the others who have recommended voting with your feet.
  14. by   Destinystar
    you are under the old policy until they give you a formal inservice about the new policy. if it is a new company they can go in and fire every employee there with no virtually no consequences. you should think more of yourself then to allow anyone to treat you the way you are being treated there. call the health department and report the days that you have been working short. i agree with the person that advised you to unionize. you can also be diplomatic and fill out a grievance form (make a copy for yourself) and go in and talk to the admistrator and ask that your write up be removed based on the fact you were in the middle of res. care and would have potentially endangered a res. by stopping in the middle and clocking out. point out any cna's that may have been late that day and tell the administrator that they were the ones who caused the problem and should be written up not you.
    Quote from chad_ky_srna
    the problem is we have no idea what any of the new managements policies are. they have given no one policy manuals and we had been operating under the old manual but now they are switching to their policies. it would be nice to know before they start writing people up. i got the verbal warning that comes before a right-up but it still goes in my employee file. my best friend is going around to the other facilities in the area and she said she would pick me up applications wherever she went. i have been there and worked short, i have been the only cna for 40 residents some nights, i hate it and do not wish to do it again any time soon. they have been having inservices every friday, i think that these would be good issues to raise today at the inservice. it could get ugly, cover me, i'm going in! lol!

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