working for free

Specialties Agency


You are reading page 2 of working for free


18 Posts

I've got to put in my 2 cents here. The issue of being paid for hours worked lies between the employer and the employee- specifically, the agency and the agency nurse. What can and can not be billed for is an issue between the agency and hospital, not the nurse. If a nurse notates the hours that he/she works and is not compensated by the agency, that is a violation of federal law and the agency can be audited and fined- and the nurse WILL receive adequate compensation (payment in full) as a result of the audit. Any subsequent violations on behalf of the agency can result in further financial, punitive action or worse. "If you don't get the signatures to approve the lunch not worked, we can not bill the hospital" is not a replacement for the law. That being said, this is what I suggest:

Agency work involves self marketing of skills and teamwork. Do not make this billing issue between the agency and the hospital something that negatively reflects upon you. For a 12 hour shift with no lunch and a hospital that refuses to sign for the time you worked, simply notate the times you actually worked (12.5 hours) and leave it at that. If the authorizing hospital employee is not happy with this, simply write on your time slip- bill only 12 hours and tell her/him your agency will take care of it. Keep your reputation free from harm and smile during the entire interaction. Now, your agency MUST pay you. They do have the right to also counsel you to take your breaks and subsequently fire if they wish, but if they do you are working for the wrong agency anyway.

Can you blame the hospital for wanting a 30 minute discount when they are getting stiffed with 31% profit margins? There is a reason why the top stock on Wall Street is healthcare agency work- and not not necessarily an ethical reason (those are our tax dollars too that are being shoveled out to keep not-for-profit hospitals afloat). Unfortunately, the agencies that run huge profit margins are the most inflexible in these situations. Their corporate affiliation holds them to a certain (rather large) profit expectation. My agency routinely pays for time the hospital considers "off the clock" for billing purposes. There is something to be said about volume business, partnership, and satisfied customers. This is an issue between you and your agency- don't let them make it out to be the hospital. Take charge of the situation and inform your staffer how it will be handled.

Feel free to contact me if your agency won't honor the time you put in- I'll even give you the number of the federal authority you can contact for the backpay!:D


222 Posts

caduca, thanks for the insightful and informative reply. Can you post the number here for all of us?


33 Posts

they really that anal about 15 minutes or so there?? that is really anal sorry to say guys.......

we are lucky here, if we at any time find that we wont be able to make it for a lunchbreak here which can be from 30 mins to 45 mins for lunch we can easily ask the num if we could just work straight through and leave earlier as if taking a later lunch.......this works well, some wards you are even given the choice if wanting to break or leave early.........casual aussie attitude i must say!

of course there are those frequent situations that you find that you cant stop for a meakbreak and that you still cant get out early despite all your intentions (it happens as we all know!) but thats cool here too, you mention it to them and the supervisor does not judge you and will happily sign on the extra time without a derogatory speech........well, can depend on the hospital at times!

what i hate most about meal skipping is the drop in our blood sugar, the docs come in and ask about patient x's input/output, bsl, general intake etc etc.....i once snarled at one and said 'what about my intake, my output, my bsl!!'.....he laughed, left then came back with a toasted sandwich and a juice for me which was much appreciated. and those patients that take note that you have barely stopped all day and they become concerned about you they are also i think! i have had some try to give me their lunch lol thats sooooooo sweet! :kiss

all in all though i try not to miss my break, why should i........


656 Posts

I go in at least 15 minutes before my shift to copy my assignment, check the kardexes/charts, etc. -- I do this for ME -- to get myself organized so I can take report on time. Anything after that -- I expect the hospital to pay for. If I miss lunch, I mark that down on my time card and always get paid for it. Ditto with staying late to catch up. My manager has never once questioned any of my overtime....ever. I'm not a volunteer -- I'm working as a nurse for the money. I will not work for free. :nurse:


1 Article; 2,394 Posts

Specializes in Everything except surgery.
originally posted by socrates soul

they really that anal about 15 minutes

: and those patients that take note that you have barely stopped all day and they become concerned about you they are also i think! i have had some try to give me their lunch lol thats sooooooo sweet! :kiss


i have had pts....who tell me to either come hide out in their room...offer me food....and one lady even said..."honey find you somewhere to hide look tired."..:chuckle: or "honey....did you get any rest last nite??" you ought to try and get some sleep"...:chuckle" :kiss:


18 Posts


I apologize for taking so long to get back to all of you- it has been awhile since I've had time to download like I do here- the place to call to retrieve the money for services rendered to your agency is the Federal Labor Board. Call your local office and ask to speak to a representative about a violation in Federal Labor law. They will do an anonymous intake and then follow with an investigation (audit) to retrieve you money. It works.

joyflnoyz, LPN

356 Posts

Specializes in home health.

I had myhouse supe tell me the other night that if I wasn't finished with my work by midnight, to punch out and then go back to the floor to finish.

I said HUH??????

Didn't punch out til 0120 tonight...had a code at 2250, go back to my wing at 2320, started my medicare charting I did my charting, got the vitals the aide didn't , filled out a transfer sheet incase nights had to transefer said GI Bleed to the hosp (Doc hadn't called back by the time I left)

Anyone says anything to me i'm going to ask them just how much time per night I am expected to Donate, and may I have that in writing. :)


18 Posts

Joy, good thinking- I doubt anyone would put it in writing though! Here's a good answer for the House Supervisor, "I appreciate the offer to clock out earlier, but I would never want to put the hospital or agency in the legal risk that would cause because I need to continue working right now".

nightingale, RN

2,404 Posts

Great suggestion caduca!

Just keep reciting your mantra, "I do not work for free". Beleive me, neither does the Dr., manager, or any other staff member!



55 Posts

I have seen nurses clock out early (their scheduled quit time) and then work another hour or longer. I don't, but I also have been questioned why I seem to take longer to do similar work. Get some backbone ladies!


294 Posts

Why should we work for free? If I was getting out late and it was not my fault, I would absolutely expect to be paid- including any time I had to spend fighting to get my time card signed. If the house sup refused to sign my time card, I would ask them to stay right there while I called my agency to let them know I was leaving the facility at that time and that Nancy Nurse the House Sup was refusing to sign for my OT. If the house sup refuses to stay with you, I would call from the nurses station and ask a charge nurse to vouch that you were leaving late.

The problem with this, as always in nursing, is in being the first or only one to stand up. A facility can make a nurse a "do not return" for any reason they like. So the squeaky wheel might get the DNR instead of the grease if nurses don't stand together.

Best policy, of course, is always to tell your charge or house sup during the shift if you're not able to take a break. They might refuse to pay if you did not notify them.

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