According to a survey by the American Nursing Association, more than 66% of nurses are working some form of mandatory or unplanned overtime each month. These nurses and healthcare professionals frequently are deprived of the pay to which they are lawfully entitled. They are required to work long hours through lunches and breaks and even off the clock. Many of them are "on call" through the evening and on weekends, leaving them little or no time to enjoy their lives outside of work. The labor law violations in healthcare professions can be substantial, and need to be stopped.
If you are a nurse or healthcare professional and have been deprived of the wages to which you are lawfully entitled, then you are eligible to order a copy of 10 Biggest Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Wage & Overtime Claim for FREE. Written by the unpaid wages lawyers at Kennedy Hodges L.L.P., this book contains the information your employer doesn't want you to know.
Being paid a salary does not by itself mean that you lose your right to overtime pay.
Many employers try to lead their employees to believe that if they are salaried workers, then they are exempt, and not entitled to receive overtime pay.
This simply is not true!
Learned Professional Exemption
Employers often fail in establishing that nurses meet the learned professional exemption because they can't prove one or more of these requirements under the Fair Labor Standards Act:
- The employee was compensated on a salary basis or a fee basis at a rate not less than $455 per week
- The employee's primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work which is predominately intellectual in character and which includes work requiring the consistent exercise of discretion and judgment
- The advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning
- The advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.
If you are a nurse who's paid on an hourly basis, you are almost certainly owed overtime pay when you work more than 40 hours in a workweek. If you are paid a salary or a fee basis, then you need to answer the questions above to determine if the other requirements are met. But what if you are paid a base salary plus some other per patient or hourly compensation? The chances are your employer loses any exemption that might apply. Employers bear the burden of demonstrating that the employee was compensated on a salary or fee basis. The definition of "fee basis" under 29 C.F.R. § 541.313(b) states that such arrangements are characterized by payment for a completed task "regardless of the time required for its completion."
This language suggests that a compensation plan will not be considered a fee basis arrangement if it contains any component that ties compensation to the number of hours worked. So, if you are paid in part by the hour, but also a salary or fee basis, then you have a good argument that you are not exempt (that is, you are owed overtime pay).
Do You Work off the Clock?
Illegal wage and hour practices are common in the healthcare industry. In fact, many lawsuits have been brought against hospitals and health centers for automatic mealtime deductions. While the practice of automatically deducting mealtime from an employee's pay is not illegal, this practice invites wage and hour violations. This often happens because many nurses and healthcare professionals are required to work through their lunch, or may not be given an opportunity to take a full lunch break.
In addition, nurses also are required to perform off the clock work, such as pre-shift roll calls, setting up equipment before the official start time of a shift or driving time between house calls.
What to do if you have not been paid your proper wages or overtime:
If you are a non-exempt nurse who has performed off the clock work, worked through your lunch, or not been paid the overtime you are owed, then you need to contact a nurse overtime lawyer at Kennedy Hodges L.L.P. We offer a free consultation as well as a free review of your pay stubs, job duties and other employment documents to ensure that you are classified correctly and are being properly compensated for your work. Call 855-947-0707 to schedule a free consultation with a wage and hour lawyer today.