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Flash flooding required to stay at hospital without pay

by Lamarnurse Lamarnurse (New) New

I am trying to understand how a hospital can force you to stay at the hospital when it's a flash flood event. They are not calling teams so no exemptions for anyone. But all day staff must report the day before and spend the night, and this is without any on call pay. It is just mandatory. I mean do police and other first responders have to report to work and stay without pay. No they do not!!! But somehow it's ok to force Nurses and other health care workers to do this. How is this legal. They void the exemption by not calling teams yet make it mandatory that you stay, yet no on call pay. Someone explain to me how this is legal.

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

At my last hospital we were in a hurricane zone, and we were payed if we were required to stay the night. Maybe check out OSHA regulations?

This question is best directed to an attorney in your state. He or she can review the details of your specific situation and advise you on your best course of action.

Jolie, BSN

Specializes in Maternal - Child Health. Has 35 years experience.

At the risk of splitting hairs, they can't require you to do anything.

They have stated their policy for this anticipated event, and you can choose to comply with it or not. If you believe that you can get to work on time in the morning, feel free to give it a try. If you are there and ready to work on time, I doubt anything will come of it. If you are not able to get there, you will likely be fired.

Many states allow limited exceptions to labor laws when it comes to disaster preparedness and essential employees. In normal circumstances, you would have to be paid for on-call time. I believe this might be a case where the needs of the public for a fully staffed hospital may be seen to outweigh your interests of on-call pay. Your state labor board can probably answer this question for you.

poopylala, BSN, RN

Specializes in Burn ICU. Has 5 years experience.

I'm going to PM you about this

canoehead, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 30 years experience.

If I'm required to be at the hospital, they are required to pay me. That's labor law. They might be able to get away with on call pay, depending on the circumstances. In my opinion (not labor law), if I'm required to be there, they better provide food, linen and a place to sleep.

That said, I've made the decision on my own to stay overnight if the weather looked ominous. I came with my own provisions. If they couldn't find a spot for me to sleep, I would have gone home, but not risked as much to get in as I would have if I'd just been lazy and stayed home.

My current hospital says we MUST report for scheduled shifts in bad weather, but they aren't obligated to provide anything (including a drive in) to help us do that. Phooey on them. I'm willing to shovel out, and call a tow truck if I get stuck, and I have 4 wheel drive. If that doesn't get me there, they can come get me or do without.