Massachusetts Passes Law Against Mandatory OT

  1. The MNA has a law finally passed making mandatory OT against the law.......

    Mandatory Overtime for Nurses Is Now Against the Law 11.05.2012

    A Law to Ban the Dangerous Practice of Mandatory Overtime Went Into Effect on November 5th

    On August 6, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a health care payment reform bill that includes a ban on mandatory overtime proposed by the MNA/NNU. The law went into effect on Monday, Nov. 5th and now all hospitals are required to comply with the measure. To assist nurses in understanding this new law and its implications, the MNA has created this web page to provide background on the issue, as well as a mechanism for nurses to report violations of the law.
    This is a major victory for the MNA/NNU, all nurses in Massachusetts and most importantly, for our patients.
    Specific highlights of the law include:

    • The law prohibits mandatory overtime, which is defined as "any hours worked by a nurse in a hospital setting to deliver patient care beyond the predetermined and regularly scheduled number of hours that the hospital and nurse have agreed that the employee shall work, provided that in no case shall such predetermined and regularly scheduled number of hours exceed 12 hours in any given 24 hour period."
    • The law prohibits nurses from working mandatory overtime except in the case of "an emergency situation where the safety of the patient requires its use and when there is no reasonable alternative".
    • "Emergency situation" will be defined by a newly established health policy commission that will conduct a public hearing and consult nurses to determine what constitutes an emergency situation. In the meantime, the MNA is taking the position that once a nurse's shift ends, be it 8, 10 or 12 hours, she/he cannot be required to work mandatory overtime, with the only exception being for a county, state or nationally declared emergency.
    • The law also prohibits mandatory overtime being used as an alternative to providing appropriate staffing for the level of patient care required. Therefore, the MNA contends that holes in the schedule, a high census, a sick call or leaves of absence by staff can in no way be construed as an emergency, as they are the direct result of the hospital's failure to provide appropriate staff.
    • The law requires that hospitals report all instances of mandatory overtime to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and that these reports be made available to the public.

    The law protects nurses by prohibiting any discrimination, dismissal, discharge or any other employment decision based on a nurses' refusal to accept work in excess of the limitations on mandatory overtime. This law affects all Massachusetts hospitals. We are dedicated to making sure this law works the way that the Legislature intended. If your hospital continues to use mandatory overtime after November 5, please let us know immediately.

    Link to Mandatory Overtime Reporting Form
    Click here to download a flyer about this issue to share with other nurses you know.
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  3. by   DSkelton711
    This is great news! I hope hospitals will be forced to hire more nurses. I worked 12 hour shifts and they were too long some days. The days I worked 14, 16 hours in a row made me unfit to work. Hope more states follow suit. Safety should be first and foremost.
  4. by   OR-RN2011
    Thank you for posting this. I did not realize this had passed. It is good to see they included scheduling shortfalls are not to be counted as an emergency.