Common Overtime Pay Problems Facing Health Care Employees

Health care employees are often required to work long hours under stressful conditions.  Unfortunately, they are often shorted when it comes to overtime pay.  Many employees in the health care industry are owed unpaid overtime.  This post will outline several common overtime pay issues facing employees in the health care industry.

Employees in the health care industry are entitled to be paid for all hours they worked, whether they are at their usual work stations or not. Often, employers in the health care industry will fail to count many hours that should be included as hours worked, resulting in health care employees being owed unpaid overtime. Such “off-the-clock” hours would include pre- and post-shift duties, travel time during scheduled work hours from site to site, and work related to meetings and training.

Another common issue regarding overtime pay in the health care industry is the misclassification of employees. Employers often misclassify their employees as exempt from overtime pay. While it is true that certain positions may be classified as exempt from overtime pay, such overtime exemptions are narrowly construed, and the reality is that most employees do not fall within any overtime pay exemptions. Salaried managerial and professional employees may be exempt from overtime regulations, but only if they meet specific salary, duty, and/or educational requirements.

Whether a nurse is entitled to overtime pay can depend on his or her job duties, as well as the type of nurse involved. Registered nurses who are registered by the appropriate State examining board generally meet the duties requirements for the learned professional exemption, and if paid on a salary basis of at least $455 per week, may be classified as exempt. 
Licensed practical nurses and other similarly situated health care employees, however, generally do not qualify as learned professionals, as possession of a specialized advanced academic degree is not a prerequisite for entry into such positions, and are entitled to overtime pay.

Another issue prevalent in the health care industry with respect to unpaid overtime is that many health care employers fail to include bonuses, shift differentials and other types of compensation in the regular rate of pay. Instead, they simply pay their non-exempt employees using their hourly rate. But other types of compensation should be used to calculate an employee’s “regular rate of pay,” from which the one-and-a-half times for overtime pay is calculated.

If you work in the health care industry and believe you might be due unpaid overtime, Josh Borsellino at 817.908.9861 or complete our online form to learn more about your rights.  There are no out of pocket costs to you to call or email and learn your rights regarding overtime pay.