Report Title:

Registered Nurses; Prohibiting Mandatory Overtime

 

Description:

Prohibits health care facilities from requiring registered nurse employees to work overtime.

 

THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

62

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2001

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 


 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

RELATING TO EMPLOYMENT.

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

SECTION 1. The legislature finds that registered nurses across the State are being required to work overtime hours by their employers when they are clearly exhausted. When registered nurses are routinely forced to work overtime, their thinking and skill levels are often impaired. As a result, patient safety is jeopardized. Today, many public and private hospitals use mandatory overtime to cover routine personnel shortages. Furthermore, nurses who question overtime assignments are often threatened with losing their jobs or their licenses under the charge of patient abandonment.

The legislature finds that patient safety is paramount to quality health care. The purpose of this Act is to protect patients by prohibiting health care facilities from requiring registered nurses to work overtime, except in cases of a declared federal, state, or county emergency.

SECTION 2. Chapter 387, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"387- Registered nurses; prohibiting mandatory overtime. (a) An employer shall not require any employee that is a registered nurse and primarily employed as a practicing nurse to:

(1) Work for a workday longer than the number of hours regularly scheduled for a particular workday; or

(2) Work for a workweek longer than forty hours.

(b) A registered nurse is not prohibited from voluntarily working a workday or workweek longer than that specified in subsection (a). If a registered nurse refuses to work longer than that specified in subsection (a), the employer shall not have grounds to suspend, discharge, penalize, or take any other adverse employment-related action against the registered nurse. In addition, an employer shall not coerce a registered nurse to surrender any rights provided under this section. Any violation of this section shall be a violation under section 387-12.

(c) Subsection (a) shall not apply to:

(1) A registered nurse who is not entitled to work overtime hours or receive overtime compensation;

(2) Situations when a federal, state, or county emergency has been declared in the registered nurse's jurisdiction and the employer has made reasonable efforts to fulfill its staffing needs through other means, including requesting on-duty nurses to voluntarily work overtime, requesting off-duty registered nurses to voluntarily report to work, and recruiting per diem nurses to report to work; provided that the emergency shall not be a result of labor disputes relating to the health care industry;

(3) A certified midwife primarily employed as a midwife and recognized as an advanced practice registered nurse pursuant to section 457-8.5; or

(4) A certified registered nurse anesthetist primarily employed as a registered nurse anesthetist and recognized as an advanced practice registered nurse pursuant to section 457-8.5.

(d) For purposes of this section:

"Employer" means an employer as defined in section 387-1 that is operated by the Hawaii health systems corporation under chapter 323F or licensed by the department of health to operate as a health care facility or any other facility enumerated in section 321-11(10) or otherwise authorized to provide health care in the State.

"Registered nurse" means a person licensed as a registered nurse pursuant to section 457-7, employed by a public or private employer, and involved in direct patient care or clinical services.

"Workday" means a fixed and regularly recurring period of twenty-four consecutive hours."

SECTION 3. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 4. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

INTRODUCED BY:

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