Overtime Pay is in jeopardy in the US - page 2
Action Alert: Overtime Pay in Jeopardy! Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for their work. Yet recently introduced federal legislation allows employers to offer compensatory time off to workers... Read More
May 11, '03Thanks for posting this! It is scary what will most likely happen if this is snuck through and passes.
Jun 3, '03New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA)
Practice and Governmental Affairs
Action Alert: Overtime Pay in Jeopardy
US House of Representatives Scheduled to Vote Thursday, June 5, 2003
Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for their work. Yet recently introduced federal legislation allows employers to offer compensatory time off to workers in place of normal time-and-a-half overtime pay. H.R. 1119 and S.317 would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to change the job description and duties, income limits and other qualifications for overtime pay protections. These proposed changes would threaten workers with unpredictable work schedules and no monetary compensation for any extra hours worked.
NYSNA opposes this legislation and urges nurses to contact their Congressional representatives at http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/
View a Sample Letter of Opposition to Congress at http://www.nysna.org/programs/leg/le...119_letter.htm
Both H.R. 1119 and S.317 do not protect the employee. These bills give employers jurisdiction over how comp time is used. Employees are not guaranteed flexibility in using their earned comp time. The legislation also provides no meaningful protection against employers requiring workers to take time off instead of cash and no protection against employers assigning overtime only to workers who agree to take time off instead of cash.
The House bill (H.R. 1119) passed the House Education and the Workforce Committee on May 22 and is currently on the Union Calendar, Calendar No. 64.
A separate provision in the Senate bill would eliminate the 40-hour workweek altogether and substitute an 80-hour two-week work period. Workers who work 50 hours in one week, for example, would not receive [I]any[/] overtime pay or comp time at all.
Nurses report dissatisfaction with working conditions as the prime reason for choosing to leave direct patient care employment. Weakening labor laws by eliminating compensation for overtime hours could drive even more nurses from bedside care and exacerbate the existing nursing shortage.
Jun 3, '03Here is the message that I sent to Sens. John Ensign and Harry Reid of Nevada, Reps. Shelley Berkley and Jon Porter, and President George Bush:
I am urging you to oppose HR1119 and S317, measures to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act. As a Registered Nurse, I am concerned that my employer could theoretically require me to work an unlimited number of hours, endangering my patients. It has also been my experience with compensatory time that the employer, not the employee, decides when it is convenient to use it. Many employers also can never fit leave into the schedule, leaving you stuck with leave time you cannot use as compensation for your work.
These measures would absolutely kill any incentive anyone has to work in health care. If they pass, I will have to seriously consider leaving nursing.
Bob Faulkner, RN,C
Las Vegas, NV
I urge my colleagues to do the same. If you do not know who your congressman and senators are, go to the main page at congress.org. There is a section where you can enter your zip code, and it will give you their names.Last edit by Orca on Jun 3, '03
Jun 5, '03Being an employee of the Dept of Defense/Army. That is and has been their policy since I have worked for them (employed by them since 1998). No, we do not get OT unless we have worked 40 hours and no we are not guaranteed flexibility on when we can take comp time. The ability to take comp time is directly affected by the staffing at the time. But in all fairness to them, they are pretty good about letting you use comp time if you earned it.
Do I like it, no. Do I think they should make changes, hell yes. But the DOD is not unionized. However, I can not complain too hard about no union as we, as nurses are treated pretty fairly and the management listens to complaints and tries to resolve them.
In all honesty, having been burned by a union...and burned good I might add. I am not too worried that they have no union for their civilian nurses. But I do not think that this policy works well out side the federal government. So I support my collegues that work in the civilian world and will do all that I can to show you that support.
Jun 5, '03Looks like most recently it was to be put to a vote today, Thursday, June 5th.
Wonder if they have voted on it yet..........
Jun 5, '03Maybe I am missing something here but we do not lose anything. I read through the Senate Bill and there appears to be provisions to protect the employee.
1. You have to agree to be "paid" with comp time unless it is covered by collective bargaining. The employer can't force you to take time instead of money.
2. You can only accumulate a max of 160 hours in the 1 year period. If my math is right that would equate to 107 hrs of actual overtime worked.
3. If you have not taken your comp time by the end of the designated year the employer has to pay you the hours at time and a half within 31 days.
4. The 80 hour 2-week period is limited to 50 hours in one week. Anything over that is OT. If you were to work 50 hours in the first week and 40 hours the next you would have 10 hours of OT.
Now I can see where it may get difficult to take your time earned but the employer has to either let you or pay you. I don't see where you lose anything (except interest on monies you would have had). You/we may have to wait until the end of the year to get reimbursed for OT. I am not in mgt nor am I a nurse (yet! give me 2 yrs and I will be).
It may be a challenge for an employer to allow us to have the time off but they have to let us. It is going to cost them regardless. If the facility is short-handed then I guess they have to bring in temps at a high rate of pay. I can see where mgt would get to hold on to their money a while longer and may be able to schedule around paying, much. They will have to think it through. If they just say "everybody take off" and patient care is hampered and something happens then I am sure lawsuits will occur. Which means penalties, higher premiums, etc. So they will have to weigh the costs.
Also, if all the nurses express their disapproval then I would think that some employers would see that as an incentive to work for them if they did not institute the "comp-time" bill. I look in my local paper and see many facilities vying for the same scarce resources. If I were an employer I would be thinking about that when trying to recruit nurses.
All this is IMHO. Unless I missed something reading through it or am unaware of a work process.
Jun 11, '03Full time where I work is 37.5 hrs/wk. We are paid time & 1/2 OT for anything over our regular shift for the day. I work an 11.5 hr shift. I get paid OT if I dont get my breaks or if I get out of work more than 15 minutes late or if I work any extra hours past the end of my shift that day or if we come in an extra day & work more than 37.5 hrs that week. We can choose it in money or time & 1/2 back in days off. If we take it in time, they have to give it to us within 30 days. If youre working, you deserve to be paid for your work in a reasonable time frame & not be told you have to wait a year to get compensated for your work. Our grandfathers helped fight to stop that kind of thing 70 years ago & helped win the laws that established the 40 hr work week and Overtime pay so we wouldnt have to work like dogs the way they did. If this law was passed, that would all cease & I would have to work more than 50 hrs in one week before I saw any OT - or wait a year to be paid in comp time for work that I have already provided, and it would be up to my employer, not me, to decide if I got paid in time or dollars. You wait a year for your comp time & see how accurate it is or how much of it the staffing levels will allow them to spare you for. You will have done the work already but some of the comp time gets lost in the shuffle. And what they cant give you because of short staffing, you lose because the time limit is up. American workers are not going to stand by and allow their grandparents fight for a limited work week & OT pay to be for nothing. And they didnt:
US House GOP Drops 'Flex-Time' Bill!!
House Republican leaders late Wednesday scrapped plans to bring their Family Time Flexibility Act (H.R. 1119) to the floor after GOP whip counts showed they lacked enough Democratic votes to pass the bill.
"We're short. We're down Republicans, and the Democratic number is going south," one GOP aide said.
This legislation allows employers to offer compensatory time off to workers in place of normal time-and-a-half overtime pay. H.R. 1119 and S.317 would amend the Fair Labor Standards Act to change the job description and duties, income limits and other qualifications for overtime pay protections. These proposed changes would threaten workers with unpredictable work schedules and no monetary compensation for any extra hours worked. NYSNA opposes this legislation and thanks the RNs who contacted their Congressional representatives to voice their opposition. Your voice made the difference.
To pass the bill, GOP leaders calculated they would need Democratic votes to offset Republican member opposition. As many as 15 Democrats were considered potential yes votes, but whip counts showed that number had dwindled to as few as five.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said Wednesday that figure was in the "ballpark" and said he was confident his whipping team had persuaded potential Democratic supporters to oppose it.
"We worked them hard. We told them what we thought the consequences of this bill are," Hoyer said.
And all the calls & letters from their constituents who expressed their opposition probably helped change their minds too.
Last edit by -jt on Jun 11, '03
Jun 12, '03As a previous poster asked, what am I missing? In addition to changing the number of hours worked needed to qualify for OT and all that -jt mentioned the Bill would place an income limit on the eligibility for any type of OT compensation whether in money or Comp time. That limit is $65,000/year. Most RNs in the Northeast make more than that and would lose all abilty to earn the higher compensation for OT.
The Bill has not been defeated yet and will be re-introduced later this session.We must stay on guard and let our Representatives know passage will not be acceptable.
Jun 13, '03<the Bill would place an income limit on the eligibility for any type of OT compensation whether in money or Comp time. That limit is $65,000/year.>
And thats around the base starting salary for a new grad in my city. So that means EVERY registered nurse working here would never be eligible for overtime pay - no matter how many hours she worked.
For us, overtime pay (in any form) would just cease to exist here.
Pufff.....gone....just like that.Last edit by -jt on Jun 13, '03
Jun 13, '03<Also, if all the nurses express their disapproval then I would think that some employers would see that as an incentive to work for them if they did not institute the "comp-time" bill>
One would think so. What with logic being what it is and all. But it just doesnt turn out that way in our work world. If nurses expressing their disapproval ever moved hospital administrators to take positive action, we wouldnt have mandatory ot or unsafe staffing levels. Hundreds of thousands of nurses have been expressing their disapproval of those loud & clear all over the country. Yet most hospitals are resisting hearing it & will not recognize that fixing those things would be incentive enough to get many nurses back working for them --- and then they wouldnt have to worry about paying OT cause theyd have enough staff. Maybe one day our employers everywhere might actually pay attention to what nurses disapprove of, but it doesnt look like it going to be happening anytime soon.Last edit by -jt on Jun 13, '03
Jul 1, '03I read this bill as being an option and voluntary rather than mandatory. In the end, either your employer pays well or it doesn't care enough to do so. No matter what laws are in place or what compensation methods they use, the bottom line is the bottom line. Nurses are a necessary evil they have to pay to keep their business running in the black.