I currently work on an L&D unit where on top of working full-time, we are required to take call. Each shift is generally staffed with three nurses (day shift preferably has 4), and if there is no 4th nurse then a call person is designated. On-call time is acceptable based on this line of work, but it is not at all limited. Therefore, if management has not been proactive about our staffing we must take an unlimited amount of call to cover the floor (it has been over 48 hours a month at the worst, but is generally 32 hours/month), and get called in quite frequently if day shift wasn’t staffed with a 4th nurse, or if someone gets sick or goes on disability after that month’s time was posted.
My basic question concerns the legality of on-call time and labor laws, and how other units handle call. Are your call time amounts dictated in your contract? Is there a certain amount of call that is legally too much? Does the frequency of actually getting called in make a difference in these calculations? I have tried to find the answers to these questions in labor laws but it's all pretty vague. Thanks!