Fair Labor Standards Definition

  1. Hello, All.

    I hope I'm posting this in the right place, please let me know if not.

    I'm getting conflicting information as to whether RNs are covered under the FLSA, specifically whether they are "exempt" as professionals. Some of what I've read says that a worker paid an hourly wage can't be exempt, that in order to be exempt a worker must be salaried. Other places indicate that an RN is considered exempt from FLSA as a professional regardless if he/she is salaried or paid hourly.

    The reason that I ask is twofold. First, I get no coverage for meals and breaks, so I can't leave the floor and must return to work immediately if a patient needs me, but I am still not paid for my "lunch". Second, I am putting in MANY unpaid hours doing documentation, and if I am not exempt as I think I am not these are both in violation of the FLSA's regulations.

    Anyone have a reference or a link for me?

    Thanks so much in advance.

    Kat
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   OC_An Khe
    The easiest way to find out if you are covered is to make a complaint to the Feds. Explain to them that you are an hourly employee that is being told to work without getting paid either straight time or OT. and let them decide.
  4. by   Katillac
    Quote from ocankhe
    The easiest way to find out if you are covered is to make a complaint to the Feds. Explain to them that you are an hourly employee that is being told to work without getting paid either straight time or OT. and let them decide.
    Thanks for the suggestion, but I'd really like to get my information together before I make any decisions about a plan of action.
  5. by   Gldngrl
    You don't list what state you are in...go to your state department of labour website first for information pertaining to mealbreaks, etc (ie:in some states, employers don't have to pay for breaks) and the state site should lead you to the federal labour site for OT questions and concerns.
  6. by   Katillac
    Quote from Gldngrl
    You don't list what state you are in...go to your state department of labour website first for information pertaining to mealbreaks, etc (ie:in some states, employers don't have to pay for breaks) and the state site should lead you to the federal labour site for OT questions and concerns.
    My question isn't so much whether I get a paid break. In NYS where I practice there is no requirement that employers give paid breaks. My question is whether, if one can't leave the floor and one must immediately return to work if there is any patient need, if I am actually getting a meal break and if I'm not should I not be paid for my entire shift.

    If one is considered a "professional", the employer isn't required to give a meal break or pay for overtime such as the time I spend charting after my shift is over. But I am paid hourly, not salaried and I think that means I need to be paid for all hours worked. But none of the web sites answer that question.

    I hope this makes my question more clear.
  7. by   OC_An Khe
    Katillac
    If you are paid hourly then they are required to pay you for all hours worked. All the time you describe in last post is time required to be paid.
  8. by   Gldngrl
    Why aren't you allowed a break w/o interruptions?
    http://www.labor.state.ny.us/busines...yer/meals.html
  9. by   Katillac
    Quote from Gldngrl
    Why aren't you allowed a break w/o interruptions?
    http://www.labor.state.ny.us/busines...yer/meals.html
    Found it!
    http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/compliance/whd/whdfs53.pdf
    Yup, if you are frequently interrupted during your meal break you must be paid for it, and if your employer knows or had reason to know that you are working overtime to document, you must be paid for it.

    Now the question is. . . how do I tactfully bring this to my employer's attention?

    Any ideas?

    Kat
  10. by   OC_An Khe
    This unfortuneately is not a situation where tact will help you obtain what is rightfully yours. No amount of tack is going to prevent this employer from doing what is right and not be angry. Do you think you are the first employee to bring this to their attention? I seriously doubt it.
    Just politely ask for what is your legally rightful pay and if it is not forthcoming then just file a complaint with the appropriate agencey. Don't let your employer know or threaten your empoyer with filing a complaint. Give some thought to looking for another place of employment.
  11. by   -jt
    If mealtimes are deducted from employees pay at your facility (ie: the usual paid shift is 7.5 hrs or 11.5 instead of 8 hrs or 12 hrs/day), then yes you should be getting paid when you dont get your mealbreak & you should even be getting overtime for it.

    You should also be getting overtime pay for time worked past your shift.
    For now....

    Currently, Pres Bush is trying to implement a new law that exempts ANYONE with a college degree or training on the job or a level of responsibility at work or who earn above $65,000/yr from being eligible for overtime pay. Congress is trying to block him from doing that and the ANA is trying to get nurses exempted from the new law. But if they fail & Bush is successful, none of us will be eligible for overtime any longer because we all went to college, never mind the skills and responsibility we have.
    Last edit by -jt on Apr 17, '04

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