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Overtime Pay Laws for Mediacal and Healthcare Workers

Overtime Pay for RNs, LPNs/LVNs, Dental Assistants, Sleep Techs, PAs, NPs and similar Medical / Healthcare Workers

The general rule under federal overtime labor law is that all non-exempt employees must receive time and one-half the regular rate of pay after 40 hours of work in a 7-day workweek. With regard to certain healthcare workers employed by a hospital, nursing home, or certain other residential facilities, a system referred to as 8 and 80 may also be used for determining overtime pay.

The primary issue for healthcare and medical workers is determining if their particular job is or is not exempt from the overtime pay rules. If “exempt”, the job is not one that must be paid overtime. If “non-exempt”, the job is one that must be paid overtime wages. An employee is exempt only if the employee meets all of the requirements of a specific exemption. The professional exemption is the focus of most cases involving healthcare workers. Merely paying an employee on a per visit or salary basis does not make them exempt from overtime pay – while pay is a factor, it is not the only requirement that must be met.

Registered Nurse (RN)

RNs, depending on their job duties and how they are paid, may be exempt or non-exempt. If an RN is paid a salary, supervises at least 2 employees and can hire and fire, they may meet the requirements for the executive exemption. If an RN is performing professional nursing duties and is paid on either a salary basis or a fee basis, they may meet the requirements for the professional exemption. However, if an RN is paid on an hourly basis, they will almost always be considered non-exempt and thus entitled to overtime pay.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) & Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN)

Licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses and other similar medical workers generally do not qualify as exempt learned professionals, regardless of work experience and training, because having a specialized advanced academic degree is not a standard prerequisite for entry into such occupations. In other words, even though they may be highly trained and experienced, they not meet the formal educational requirements for the professional exemption. While it is possible for them to fall under another exemption, they are typically entitled to overtime pay, even if they are paid on a per visit or a salary basis.

Dental Hygienists

Dental hygienists are entitled to overtime pay unless they have successfully completed 4 academic years of pre-professional and professional study in an accredited college or university approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Dental and Dental Auxiliary Educational Programs of the American Dental Association.

Sleep Techs / Medical Technologists

Unless they have successfully completed 3 academic years of pre-professional study in an accredited college or university plus a 4th year of professional course work in a school of medical technology approved by the Council of Medical Education of the American Medical Association, Sleep Techs and registered or certified medical technologists will generally NOT meet the duties requirements for the learned professional exemption.

Physical / Occupational Therapy Assistants

Therapy assistants do not meet the educational requirements necessary for the professional exemption. Therefore, physical therapy assistants and certified occupational therapy assistants are usually entitled to overtime pay.

Physician Assistants (PA)

Physician assistants who have successfully completed 4 academic years of pre-professional and professional study, including graduation from a physician assistant program accredited by the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant, and who are certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants generally meet the duties requirements for the learned professional exemption.

Overtime pay violations commonly occur when healthcare employers:

  • Fail to pay overtime after 8 hours of work in a day for workers (both full time and part time) who are under the “8 and 80″ system.
  • Pay overtime after 80 hours worked during a biweekly period rather than after 40 hours in a workweek to employees NOT under the “8 and 80″ system.
  • Fail to combine hours worked in more than one department or at more than one facility when determining the total overtime hours worked.
  • Fail to include in calculating overtime hours the time spent or hours worked during meal breaks or while attending staff meetings and compensable training sessions or performing on-call assignments.
  • Alter time records and/or pressure workers to work “off the clock” and not record overtime
  • Fail to include shift differential, bonuses or on-call fees in calculating an employee’s regular rate.
  • Healthcare workers should not rely on their supervisor or Human Resources for critical information regarding the laws on overtime pay and how such apply to their specific job.

    Because of the strict time limits imposed by the laws, procrastination can be costly. If you have any doubts as to your entitlement, contact the experts at The Lore Law Firm for a free and confidential review.

    Call 1-866-559-0400, email mlore@www.overtime-flsa.com or submit your information using our convenient Case Evaluation form for a FREE and CONFIDENTIAL review of your circumstances – because time is money.

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