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drtofu66

Guest
What is the name of your state? Pennsylvania

I'm asking on behalf of some friends who encountered this. They are nurses who work in a college health setting. Apparently, the University wants to have Saturday hours and told them that they have to work 5.5 hours on Saturday every 4 weeks without any extra compensation either in overtime pay or in fewer hours that they have to work the next week. Has anyone ever heard of something so weird? I obviously don't know anything about law, but this seems patently unfair and I would have thought that a practice so Draconian would have been addressed and curbed already. I guess it would depend on their contracts (which I don't know anything about) but I would think that nurses would have been able to secure decent labor practices for themselves by now. Overtime is a part of any work but to require it without compensation seems really weird.

Anyone have any advice?
 


cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
If the nurses are classified as exempt, then any overtime is at the discretion of the company. It is not required by law. That is what they are exempt from - overtime. If the company wishes to pay it, great, but if they don't, they cannot be compelled to.

If they are classified as non-exempt, then they must be paid for every hour that they work and OT for every excess hour - however, if I am not mistaken, the field of health care is the one and only industry where an employer is allowed to balance a bi-weekly schedule to determine what is excess. In other words, an employee can work 45 hours one week and only 35 the next, but since it adds up to only 80 hours there would be no OT due.

If they are union, the contract should address this issue.
 
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drtofu66

Guest
Thanks for your reply, CBG.

The exempt/non-exempt thing is what I'm hearing-- they are 'exempt' as I understand it. Sorry to be thick here, but just so I can understand:

"Exempt" means that you are exempt from being compensated for any overtime? So, if the company said decided that they would make it required that everyone work 80 hour weeks instead of 40, then everyone would work the extra 40 hours for free?
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
In a sense. The point is, exempt employees are hired not by the hour, but by the job. Most exempt employees are expected to work more than a 40 hour week - it tends to come with the job. They are expected to work till the job is done. Sometimes that means the job is finished in 35 hours - fine, if they're exempt they still get their entire salary. But if it takes 80 hours to do the job, they are expected to work the 80 hours without any additional compensation.

A company may, if they so choose, provide additional compensation to an exempt employee for doing "extra" hours. But they are not required to by law.
 

Beth3

Senior Member
Just to confirm, health care workers in hospitals and nursing homes is the one occupational field where an employer is allowed to calculate OT based on two week (14 day) payroll periods - they're usually called "8 and 80" plans. The law requires that there must be an "understanding or agreement" of this schedule between the employer and the employee before the employee commences work. The employer must pay OT for all hours worked over 80 in any 14 day pay period AND must pay OT for all hours worked over 8 in any day. Current interperetation permits the employer to credit daily OT pay against any OT pay due for hours worked in excess of 80 in the 14 day period - in other words, OT pay is not required to be pyramided.

This only applies when the employee is non-exempt however. As cbg says, there is never any legal obligation for the employer to pay OT to exempt employees.
 

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