Legal question about number of days in a row a CA nurse can work voluntarily


Yesterday during my clinical rotation in the ER, a nurse shared with me that she was working her 12th day (12-hr shifts) in a row. This apparently was voluntary on her part, but it still raised questions for me about the safety of the practice. What are the legal requirements in California regarding time off (recovery time) for RNs?


470 Posts

That sounds crazy, I do 3 12 hr shifts in a row and am just pooped after. Its nice having the 4 days off in a row too. I heard about a ER person doing 6 in a row and then having about a week off or so. I have no idea about the law though...


1,260 Posts

Specializes in O.R., ED, M/S.

You can work as much as you and your enployer will allow. I work in SoCal and put in 8-9 days straight, with call days, and then come home for 4-5 days. No one should be able to tell you how much you can work. Your employer, on the other hand, will look at all of this OT and probably put their foot down. Even if they are running short and have no volunteers to stay over, they might not allow you for the finacial reasons.

It all depends on the union contract. If it's a non-union hospital things might be different. But when working overtime it's strictly voluntary, they can't force you. If it were a natural disaster and nobody could get in or out of the hospital, that might be a different story.


38,333 Posts

I have worked seven days per week regularly scheduled by my employer at my discretion. I have also known several nurses who worked seven days per week. No one has ever discussed any labor laws that disallow this practice. However, my days of seven day workweeks are now over because my present employers won't even let me get 40 hours much less overtime. If I work more than 8 hours in one day, they refuse to pay the overtime. Because I resent this, I don't work 12 hour shifts anymore.

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