NJ Governor signs law banning Mandatory Overtime

  1. http://webpublisher.lexisnexis.com/i...1920004392&b=s


    Copyright 2002 Bergen Record Corporation
    The Record (Bergen County, NJ)...01/03/2002

    New Jersey's hospitals are banned from forcing nurses to work overtime except during emergencies under legislation signed Wednesday by acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco.

    The measure makes it a violation of the law for a healthcare facility to require hourly employees in direct patient care to work beyond their regular shift, unless there are "unforeseeable emergent circumstances. " It also prohibits firing or demoting employees who refuse overtime work.

    It is the first comprehensive ban on forced overtime in the nation.

    More than a dozen other states are considering similar legislation.

    Nurses, who have been pushing for the measure for years, complain they are often required to work overtime because healthcare facilities don't staff adequately.

    "With downsizing and managed care, hospitals staff at a bare minimum," said Jeanne Otersen, policy director of Health Professionals and Allied Employees, a union representing 8,500 nurses and other health workers in New Jersey.

    Otersen has had reports of nurses working 19- and 16-hour shifts.

    The pressure to work overtime is a daily problem, she said, not just on days when emergencies bring in droves of unexpected patients.

    "Nurses go in at 7 and are literally not allowed to leave," she said. "We've had nurses who had kids sent by taxi to wait for their mothers to get off duty. " A similar bill previously passed both houses of the Legislature, but was conditionally vetoed last year by then-Gov. Christie Whitman.

    The bill was reintroduced by Sens. John Bennett, R-Monmouth, and Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, and passed the Senate in June. The Assembly approved the bill in the fall.

    The law does not prohibit nurses from volunteering to work overtime.

    It will will not take effect for one year, so healthcare facilities can have time to better plan for staffing, its sponsors said.

    Vitale said he hoped the law would keep nurses from leaving the profession. "Experts estimate that by 2006 we will have a shortfall of 14,000 nurses," he said. "Ending the practice of mandatory overtime will help deal with the increasing difficulty of keeping trained nurses working in the field. " The overtime measure was among a number of laws that DiFrancesco signed as he prepares to step down from office.
  2. Visit NRSKarenRN profile page

    About NRSKarenRN, BSN, RN Moderator

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 27,490; Likes: 13,693
    Utilization Review, prior Intake Mgr Home Care; from PA , US
    Specialty: 40 year(s) of experience in Home Care, Vents, Telemetry, Home infusion


  3. by   NRSKarenRN
    january 2, 2002

    acting gov signs law
    prohibiting mandatory overtime

    (trenton, nj) "we are very excited that the bill which prohibits health care facilities from mandating nurses to work overtime has been signed into law, " commented andrea aughenbaugh, rn and ceo for the new jersey state nurses association when one of the two bills awaiting the governor's signature dealing with nursing issues was signed today by acting governor donald difrancesco. "njsna and many other organizations involved in healthcare have worked very hard to pass through this legislation to ensure that patient care and nursing care are at their optimum levels what a wonderful way to help celebrate the new year."

    "this signed legislation will give nurses an opportunity to make the decision as to whether they can safely deliver quality patient care," aughenbaugh explained. "for a licensed, professional registered nurse, it is an important professional responsibility to be able to make that determination." the nj board of nursing and nurses around the state have also emphasized this as a key factor.

    staff nurse and njsna lobbyist, irma lupia, rn added, "rns do not have to be forced to pitch in when a crisis arises. they always volunteer. in today's health care environment, increased workloads, acute patients, along with many other factors, all contribute to the stress levels of nurses and a tired, stressed nurse is not good for patients. patients and nurses will benefit from our efforts over these many sessions to get this bill signed into law."

    "it's been a long process, but, thanks to our sponsors, senator joseph f. vitale (d-19) and senator john o. bennett (d-12) as well as the co-sponsors, senators turner, bryant and bassano, including the efforts of speaker of the house, jack collins, governor difrancesco, the senate and assembly, as well as the many, many nurses supporting this bill, now patients, consumers, and new jersey healthcare will benefit," noted aughenbaugh.

    "this is a boost to professional nursing at a time when nurses continue to struggle to provide the best possible nursing services in often less than optimal work environments," said sharon rainer, rn, njsna director of legislative affairs. "njsna sincerely thanks the legislature for their continued support of professional nursing."

    thanks to all the nurses who wrote and e-mailed. glad my jersey license is protected. now to get mot passed in pa!
  4. by   -jt

    And isnt that what we've all been screaming for? Congratulations NJSNA and all NJ nurses who fought to obtain this new law to ban mandatory OT. The fact that this ban is law in at least one state - with similar legislation pending in about a dozen others - makes it easier for the rest of us to get ours thru our legislatures.

    What I find interesting here is that the thread titled "who's the boss" got 337 views and the thread announcing that NJ nurses have managed to get mandatory OT by law state-wide got only 1/10 of that number of people interested enough to read it. Wouldnt you think this announcement would have hundreds of nurses clicking on it - even for the mere fact that once we got the ban in one state, their own may soon follow? I hope this doesnt indicate a lack of interest on the part of nurses in making mandatory OT extinct.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 6, '02
  5. by   prmenrs
    W O W ! ! ! FABULOUS!!
  6. by   P_RN
    Double WOW. Isn't NJ the place where the managed care and DRG first took hold?

    Would that SC could come into the 20th century and follow suit(and yes I KNOW it's the 21st century now!)

    OUR legislators are still fighting over whether the confederate flag out front should be made of cotton or is nylon OK?

    Now don't get me wrong...my "folks" have been in SC since the 1600's. But ENUFF is ENUFF....get on to something worthwhile. Like NURSES!

  7. by   Jenny P
    Way to go, New Jersey!!!!!! My hat is off to every single nurse who made this possible!