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Salaried nurses, How much OT is acceptable? What to do?

Home Health   (4,651 Views 13 Comments)
by paradiseboundRN paradiseboundRN (Member) Member

paradiseboundRN has 11 years experience and specializes in Home Health, MS, Oncology, Case Manageme.

10,064 Profile Views; 358 Posts

Here is my dilemma. I just started a job a 4 weeks ago as a Intake Nurse-RN with a very large home care company. I was one of 4 nurses that were hired. My letter of employment quoted an hourly pay rate. After 2 weeks, I found out that I am actually salary-no overtime. Before Jan 1st we spent the time in training or just standing around because they had no one to train us. Starting Dec 31st, we have been absolutely slammed with work. We are at least 1 1/2 days behind on work. It is obvious that they didn't hire enough people! My problem is that we have been working almost 2 hours overtime every night. On the first day of the job she gave a big speech about "teamwork" and everyone staying until the work is done. But it doesn't matter if we stayed to midnight, the work isn't going to be done. The first 2 days, I stayed because my coworkers stayed. Finally after about 2 hours my boss announced that we should leave. Officially, my boss hasn't even addressed the problem. She hids out between the hours of 4-6:30 pm so she doesn't have to deal with it. I am so tired of being taken advantage of in Nursing! I have decided that on Monday I'm going to tell her that I'm not going to be working late on a regular basis. I can't wait for my co-workers to step up because they're are all so passive, although they complain to me and each other. Remember, I am not getting paid OT. I don't think I should have to work 10 hrs a work for free. The work may slow down, but its obvious to me that this is going to be a constant problem. Any advice? How do you think I should handle this?

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AnnemRN has 22 years experience and specializes in Home health.

286 Posts; 6,658 Profile Views

That's really a difficult one. The problem being as a salaried employee you are not required to be paid overtime.

I like you found out the hard way that generally speaking salaried positions in nursing almost always ends up with the nurse being taken advantage of. Personally, I would try and find another nursing job where you're paid hourly although, you may have some leverage because it sounds like they really need you and don't want to have to replace you. I would talk to your supervisor and tell her you didn't realize the position required so much overtime and it is seriously cutting into your personal life and your ablity to fulfill other commitments. You might also ask if you could take a day off to make up for all the overtime you're putting in. It's worth a try.

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7 Posts; 1,041 Profile Views

This is a tough position. Even if you're salary you should have comp time or something where you can come in later or leave early when you've worked over. This would not set well with me either and would have to be addressed. I would ask to be hourly, if possible, and if not I would look for another job.

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Psychcns has 30 years experience and specializes in Psychiatric Nursing.

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This is a tough position. Even if you're salary you should have comp time or something where you can come in later or leave early when you've worked over. This would not set well with me either and would have to be addressed. I would ask to be hourly' date=' if possible, and if not I would look for another job.[/quote']

I think if you are paid for 8hours you should work for 8 hours. Once in a while later--for teamwork..but even then you should leave early the next day..maybe ask to clarify your schedule..how she wants you to work your forty hours..

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255 Posts; 7,284 Profile Views

Normally there is some type of paperwork that shows your rate of pay. Whether you have a copy or it is in your personnel file there is something that states your pay. Normally, that paper will detail the terms of a "Salary" position. Often, salary will look like you are getting paid more, until you read the fine print that the salary is based on a 50 hour week. That being said, there is normally a cap to the amount of hours worked before over-time kicks in. When you talk to the manager, I would ask to see an employee handbook and all detailed paperwork that explains the pay scale. Even when you are salary, there is a limit to the amount of hours that you work before an employer is expected to pay over-time. Also, if they can produce nothing that explains the pay scale for salaried employees and that you are one... then you are an hourly employee that is getting the shaft.

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paradiseboundRN has 11 years experience and specializes in Home Health, MS, Oncology, Case Manageme.

358 Posts; 10,064 Profile Views

Normally there is some type of paperwork that shows your rate of pay. Whether you have a copy or it is in your personnel file there is something that states your pay. Normally, that paper will detail the terms of a "Salary" position. Often, salary will look like you are getting paid more, until you read the fine print that the salary is based on a 50 hour week. That being said, there is normally a cap to the amount of hours worked before over-time kicks in. When you talk to the manager, I would ask to see an employee handbook and all detailed paperwork that explains the pay scale. Even when you are salary, there is a limit to the amount of hours that you work before an employer is expected to pay over-time. Also, if they can produce nothing that explains the pay scale for salaried employees and that you are one... then you are an hourly employee that is getting the shaft.

My original paperwork quoted me an hourly rate and said nothing about being a salary employee. So I assumed that I was hourly. Many of the employees punch-in in the building so I asked her when I was going to get my badge to punch in. That's when she told me "oh, all the nurses are salary".

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255 Posts; 7,284 Profile Views

If all the paperwork that you signed and looked at showed hourly then I would definitely look further into this. I have never seen an employee of a company not have access to something that explains how the pay structure works within the company. Salary employees usually also sign some sort of contract stating that they agree to be a salary employee and its states the terms of what is meant by Salary.

Also, at companies that I have worked for, salary employees have also clocked in, if for no other reason than to verify that they are on time for work and work enough hours.

Hopefully, a few salary nurses will post responses soon.

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paradiseboundRN has 11 years experience and specializes in Home Health, MS, Oncology, Case Manageme.

358 Posts; 10,064 Profile Views

Here's an update. My manager didn't even want to discuss that I may be a hourly employee. I may go to HR but I am trying to solve this other ways. Working 9+ hours a day is causing me a lot of back pain. I am in a pain management program after having mutiple back surgeries 10 years ago. I told my manager I wouldn't have accepted the job if I knew it was salary and OT was expected due to back pain. Of course, she berated me but I called my doctor and he is going to write me a letter stating that I can't work more that 8.5 hrs daily. Also, since we are so busy at the end of the day and since that is the cause of OT, I asked if I can work 9-530 instead of 830-5. That way staying 1/2 hour later will be paid for. I am so tired of all this #%&*!

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KelRN215 has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pedi.

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Normally there is some type of paperwork that shows your rate of pay. Whether you have a copy or it is in your personnel file there is something that states your pay. Normally, that paper will detail the terms of a "Salary" position. Often, salary will look like you are getting paid more, until you read the fine print that the salary is based on a 50 hour week. That being said, there is normally a cap to the amount of hours worked before over-time kicks in. When you talk to the manager, I would ask to see an employee handbook and all detailed paperwork that explains the pay scale. Even when you are salary, there is a limit to the amount of hours that you work before an employer is expected to pay over-time. Also, if they can produce nothing that explains the pay scale for salaried employees and that you are one... then you are an hourly employee that is getting the shaft.

This- the bolded part- is not true if the salaried employee is considered exempt. All non-exempt employees (including those who are salaried) must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 hrs in a work week. Exempt employees are just that- they are exempt from the provisions of the FLSA and the employer has no obligation to pay them overtime regardless of how many overtime hours they worked.

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255 Posts; 7,284 Profile Views

KelRN215- I understand that nurses can be considered exempt. It still depends on the contract; which is why I stated that she look into it. I personally know a few nurses that are salary, yet their employers pays them overtime when they work more than 50 hours a week. Granted, the employer may not be legally bound to offer that to them but once he added it to their employment contract, he has stuck to it. The OP seems to have been duped into taking a salaried position and I tried to suggest that she look for some type of employee manual or contract that would have spelled out the terms of employment. Sorry for statement possibly being misleading that all salary employees are the same.

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SCSTxRN specializes in Psych.

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I did some digging and found Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Coverage (Exempt vs. Non-Exempt -- The Online Wages, Hours and Overtime Pay Resource which gives all the details of flsa in it's legal glory.

According to that, an exempt employee pretty much has no protection whatsoever. No guaranteed lunch breaks, no protection from being required to make up lost time, no guarantee of extra pay...

That said, I make straight time for time over 40, usually in the form of Comp time. I will work a maximum of 24 extra hours per month and that is if my schedule permits.

Unless my finances change drastically or the economy tanks so that I can't find another job, the day I don't get credit for it in the form of time, money, or an equal incentive (a company car, perhaps) will be the day that I am no longer able to work anything over the 40 in my contract.

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