The New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) has officially enforced an update to the Labor Law aimed at curbing mandatory overtime for nurses.
The new legislation, effective immediately, prohibits health care employers from compelling nurses to work beyond their regular hours, except in specific circumstances such as health care disasters, emergencies, or for the safety of patients during unforeseen medical procedures.
The law now requires a health care employer to notify NYSDOL when exceptions to limitations on mandatory overtime are in use. Additional reporting is required to NYSDOL and the Department of Health when exceptions are in use for fifteen days or more in a given month, and forty-five days or more in a consecutive three-month period. Additionally, the updated law also establishes new monetary penalties for violations.
The updated law also requires all covered health care employers to display a poster, created by the NYSDOL, in a conspicuous location accessible to all employees. The new poster, which is available now in English and Spanish on the NYSDOL website, informs nurses on how they can file a complaint if they believe that they are being subjected to mandatory overtime in violation of the law. It also expands coverage to include nurses employed by facilities licensed or operated by the NYS Office of Children and Family Services.
NYSDOL has also appointed Jeanette Lazelle, Deputy Commissioner for Worker Protection, as Enforcement Officer. Lazelle will ensure the effective implementation of the law and take appropriate action against any non-compliant health care employers.
To educate health care employers and nurses about the new law, an extensive campaign will be launched across the state.
“This new law offers a valuable tool for retaining nurses and rebuilding a resilient health care workforce. All patients deserve quality care, which is unfeasible for nurses who are often required to work shifts that stretch human capabilities," said NYS Department of Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald.
Nurses who believe their employers are not following the regulations have the option to file individual or group complaints. They may also seek assistance from their collective bargaining representative. If you are a nurse and suspect that your employer is violating the law, you can file a complaint online or contact (888) 4-NYSDOL or (518) 457-9000.
For additional information on the new law and a list of frequently asked questions, both affected employers and employees can visit dol.ny.gov/mandatory-overtime-nurses.