Mandating overtime and patient safety

In addition to such other powers and duties as may be conferred upon the commissioner of labor by law, the said commissioner of labor shall have the power, duty, jurisdiction and authority to employ, promote and remove deputies, inspectors, clerks, and other assistants, as needed, and to fix their compensation, with regard to existing laws applicable to the employment and compensation of officers and employees of the State of West Virginia, and to assign to them their duties; to make or cause to be made all necessary inspections, to see that all laws and lawful orders which the department has the duty, power, and authority to enforce, are promptly and effectively carried out.

It shall be the duty of the commissioner of labor to collect, compile and present to the Governor, on or before December 1, of each year, an annual report, with statistical details relating to all departments of labor and the industrial interests of the state, especially in relation to the financial, social, educational and sanitary condition of the laboring classes, and all other statistical information that may tend to increase the prosperity of the productive industries of the state.

America is facing a nursing shortage, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Most of these state laws say hourly nurses need reasonable, predetermined schedules, and that once their shifts are scheduled, they can’t be forced to work more than that.

Where an employer’s right to enforce mandatory overtime has been limited, nurses are usually still allowed to work overtime if they choose.

Nursing employees cannot be required to work more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period, except in cases of emergency.

In Connecticut hospitals, nurses are guaranteed predetermined work schedules, and cannot be forced to work beyond their scheduled shifts.

Thankfully, a number of states have stood up to mandatory overtime in the healthcare industry, either prohibiting the practice altogether or severely limiting an employer’s ability to require extra hours.

So far, eighteen states have passed legislation or instituted regulations on mandatory overtime in the nursing industry: Before we dive into the specific provisions contained in these laws, we’ll cover the requirements that most of them share in common.

The commissioner shall receive an annual salary as provided in section two-a, article seven, chapter six of this code.

authorized representatives shall have the power and authority in the discharge of their duties, to enter any place of employment or public institution, for the purpose of collecting facts and statistics relating to the employment of workers and of making inspections for the proper enforcement of all labor laws of the state.

Not only does mandatory overtime exploit nurses, it threatens patient safety.

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