Overtime Pay, who really benefits?

  1. 0
    Hey Travelers,

    I am getting about 10-15 hours of overtime a week so far on my new assignment. I am in week 4. My hourly rate is fairly low because I'm getting all that glamorous tax-free money. I know that hospitals are probably paying about $60/hr for me (rough estimate), so when I work overtime, they're paying $90/h-- to my agencyr. I am only seeing about a third of that amount reflected in my hourly. I am also on call 2 out of my 4 days a week, for every hour worked, I get time and a half as well. I am now wondering... The agency is truly making a killing off my stupidity. How true are my concerns?

    Thanks for anyone who can clarify.

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  2. 15 Comments...

  3. 0
    Unless you are working a 48 or 60 hour contract, then yes, your agency is doing well by you. There is an article on overtime negotiation on PanTravelers you might want to read that I couldn't possibly cover in forum posts.

    Here are a few points though. There is no reason why you can't negotiate overtime separately from your base rate. At a minimum, you want it to be at least time and a half your hourly rate plus your per diem if you think that it is likely that you will be working overtime.

    Not all contracts pay time and a half on the bill rate. A major industry player is ensuring that the bill rate plus $10 is not uncommon for overtime. I've worked contracts with a straight bill rate for all hours but those are unusual. The reason I mentioned 48 or 60 hour contracts is that those contracts have often have a flat rate until those hours have been met. There are also a number of hospitals in California that pay the first 60 hours flat (but double time if over 12 hours are worked per day).

    No matter how the agency is being paid, this is how you should think about overtime. If the agency has contracted you for 36/40 hours, their compensation to you is based on that number of worked hours. If you work those hours, all your costs - hourly, per diem, housing, and travel - are covered, along with what they consider to be a fair gross profit margin to cover their costs. All the hours worked over that contracted amount are extra profit, pure and simple. They have no extra costs because you work extra hours other than the extra overtime pay.

    Here is an example to show how the agency benefits at even a straight bill rate of say $60/hr, paying you $30/hr. If you work overtime at $45/hr, they are making a pure profit of $15/hr. All their other costs have already been covered (well, less some payroll tax). If you have a base rate of say $20/hr and OT of $30/hr, you can see that they are making out like bandits. Even with a straight bill rate.

    So you do want to push for max OT pay. But you also have to pick your battles. If working a lot of hours is what you really want to do, you might want to consider an agency such as Fastaff. If you know that there is not overtime on an assignment, you might want to negotiate for more in another part of your compensation instead of fighting for something that won't benefit you. And if you don't want to work OT, why are you doing it? That is the point I would raise in negotiating for higher OT pay: Do you, the agency, want to give me an incentive for making you more money? Otherwise, forget about it, I'm not working overtime.

    If you want to mention the name of the agency and hospital, I might be able to tell you specifics about that situation.
  4. 0
    Well, I don't mind overtime, but with my hourly rate being as low and it is, I can't help but think about everything I'm missing out on. They are paying time and a half for anything over 40 hours. And like you said, I believe they are making out like bandits. Them doing no extra work and making double what I am. Pretty disappointing. The hospital I am at is JFK medical center in south Florida. I know the hospital doesn't know the difference, but I do. You know, I hate to get greedy, but I believe a good agency should at least reward me at the end of my assignment for all the unexpected overtime they got. Or do they just not say anything unless I ask for it. I just know that everything is negotiable.

    Lets say the agency is making an EXTRA $600/week off my overtime in unexpected pay.. Over the course of 13 weeks, that more then $7,000 extra they're making in addition to covering their costs etc. $7,000?!?? Bandits indeed. When I think about things like this, it upsets me. I know they have a job to do too, but I guess that's the profit they are making and the game they play. Any advice for negotiating things for this assignment? I know that I will continue to work a lot of hours. The hospital is in dire need and is even asking me to work on days off. If I was making a decent overtime rate, id probably be more eager to hussle in.
  5. 0
    Sorry, can't comment on the hospital. But there is no harm done in talking to your recruiter now and asking for a better OT rate. You are producing for them and if they want you to work more assignments for them...
  6. 0
    Quote from NedRN
    Sorry, can't comment on the hospital. But there is no harm done in talking to your recruiter now and asking for a better OT rate. You are producing for them and if they want you to work more assignments for them...
    Good idea.. Doesn't hurt to ask. But better then time and a half? I guess with the low base rate, double pay wouldn't really hurt...and they would STILL be making out like bandits. If I mentioned that I would be more likely to pick up overtime if I had a better incentive, since at this point they're offering and I am turning down.
  7. 0
    Now you are getting the idea. There can be a actual technical glitch preventing some agencies from easily doing this (fairly rare) - their payroll may have a straight arithmetical formula for calculating OT from a base rate that cannot be changed. Emerald Healthcare for example is one such agency. Instead, after lots of negotiating (and always pretending it is the first time they have been asked), they will give you a separate overtime bonus. So that is one way of overcoming that objection if it is raised. Just laugh if they say that they cannot legally pay you more that time and a half.

    Agencies and individual recruiters will be very different on how they approach such requests. But your bottom line should be that if you don't want to modify this contract, I'll complete it but it is the last one I will do for you. Each 13 week assignment earns an agency about $5,000 in gross profit. So you are worth $20,000 a year that they will lose if you leave. Without any overtime. There are more assignments than nurses, and a heck of a lot of agencies to choose from.
  8. 0
    Well I called today and my recruiter basically said, sure of course! She said whatever it takes to keep me happy. Said she would have to discuss with Her CEO on Monday? But she had no hesitations at all. I said I'm not motivated to work overtime (which is true), and that $50 an hour (OT rate only) would motivate me. She said no problem! I said yeah I think this is a way we can both make some extra money. That went very well... Hopefully it works out. Otherwise when they ask me to work extra I may just have to say no. Thanks for the tips!
  9. 0
    Well, good for you! Mind you, if your hourly and per diem together is low to mid 30's, that is where your overtime would be anyway if you didn't take Tax Advantage. What is your OT now?
  10. 0
    Quote from NedRN
    Well, good for you! Mind you, if your hourly and per diem together is low to mid 30's, that is where your overtime would be anyway if you didn't take Tax Advantage. What is your OT now?
    Yeah that's true, the OT rate now is low 30, so, this def makes up for it.. I will now feel like working that extra 12 hour day is worth it and that I'm not getting burnt out.
  11. 0
    This is non-overtime related but...I see that you mentioned you are working for JFK in south florida. I am thinking about taking a contract there and was wondering what dept. you work and and how do you like it? You can pm me if you want.

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