Call Time and Labor Laws

  1. 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!
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    About Barkow, RN

    Joined: Feb '07; Posts: 111; Likes: 59
    Specialty: L&D/postpartum


  3. by   classicdame
    did you say contract? Are you part of a union? If so, do you feel you are getting value for your dues?
  4. by   Barkow
    No union here.
  5. by   RNBelle time! We work 7 12's in a pay period and take one night of call. So basically 24hrs/month of call. But thankfully TX just passed a law saying no more mandatory overtime for nurses. Starting Sept. 1st we can only be scheduled for 6 shifts a pay period. We will still take call. Since our staffing already sucks we will most likely be called in on our call days.
  6. by   dooley
    we work 7- -12 hr shifts in 2 week period, and are scheduled a 24 hr o/c shift every other week, if called in we get time and a half for the hours worked and can only work up to 16 hours. if a nurse is still needed at the end of your 16 hours the charge nurse gets on the phone and begs for help. usually someone always comes in or covers. we have a small unit, only 20 nurses-5 birthing rooms and deliver 35-50 babies a month. we also take care of all gyn patients.
  7. by   ducknurse
    We take anywhere from 12-36hrs of call in a 6week schedule, depending on vacations and maternity leaves, regardless of full time or part time status. 16hrs is our max shift as well. If we need more, we make calls and/or one of us managers comes in to cover.