Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
The Restrictions on Consecutive Hours of Work for Nurses Law, Section 167 of the Labor Law, went into effect on July 1, 2009.
- Prohibits health care employers from mandating overtime for nurses
- Stipulates the conditions for exceptions to this rule
The New York State Department of Labor enforces this law.
Part 177 of Title 12 of the Official Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations of the State of New York requires an employer to develop and implement a Nurse Coverage Plan. Form LS 683 can be used to help employers create an effective and complete plan.
The final regulations governing mandatory nurse overtime became effective October 12, 2011.
You can view this helpful PowerPoint.
File a Complaint
You may file a complaint with the Department of Labor if:
You are a nurse (RN/LPN)
You believe that your employer forced you to work in violation of the law
Frequently Asked Questions
|Q: What is a "health care employer"?||
A: A "health care employer" is any:
|Q: When is mandatory overtime prohibited?||
A: The law prohibits a health care employer from requiring a nurse to work overtime beyond the predetermined number of hours a nurse:
Has agreed to work
|Q: What is meant by “prescheduled on-call time”?||
A: On-call time must be prescheduled to be exempt from this law. A health care employer may not place an employee on call in a last-minute effort to cover an open shift. Rather, the nurse must be scheduled for “on-call” in accordance with:
The facility’s normal scheduling procedures
|Q: What steps must health care employers take to avoid using mandatory overtime?||
A: A health care employer must prudently plan for patient care emergencies and meet routine staffing needs without using mandatory overtime by implementing a Nurse Coverage Plan. This plan should take into account typical patterns of staff absenteeism due to:
|Q: Are health care employers required to post a notice relating to the mandatory overtime restrictions?||
A: Yes. Health care employers are required to make their Nurse Coverage Plan readily available to all nursing staff. They must do this by:
Posting/placing the plan in a location accessible to nursing staff
|Q: When can a health care employer require nurses to work overtime?||
A: Mandatory overtime is allowed only in these limited circumstances:
A patient care emergency, as determined by the health care employer (only as a last resort after implementing the Nurse Coverage Plan)
|Q: What is considered a “patient care emergency”?||
A: A "patient care emergency" means a situation that:
|Q: What is a “health care disaster”?||
A: A health care disaster means a natural or other type of disaster that:
Increases the need for health care personnel
|Q: Can a nurse work overtime voluntarily?||
A: Yes, the law does not prohibit a nurse from voluntarily working overtime. A nurse may volunteer for overtime by agreeing to:
Work a particular day or shift over and above his or her regularly scheduled work hours
|Q: What if my contract or collective bargaining agreement has additional protections against the use of mandatory overtime?||
A: Such provisions would still be in effect because the law cannot diminish or waive any rights of any nurse pursuant to any other:
|Q: What if my employer asked me to waive my rights under this law?||A: A health care employer may not use employee waivers of the protections afforded under Labor Law §167 or this Part as an alternative to compliance with such law or regulation. A health care employer who seeks such a waiver from a nurse will have violated the law.|
|Q: What can I do if I was required to work overtime but I do not believe my employer met the requirements of the law?||A: If you believe that your employer mandated overtime in violation of the law, you can file a Mandatory Overtime Complaint form. Get an electronic version of the form here, or you may call (888) 4-NYSDOL or (518) 457-9000 to obtain a hard copy. Submit the completed form by mail or fax to the address shown at the top of the form.|
|Q: Who can file a complaint?||
A: A complaint may be filed by:
|Q: What happens after I file a Mandatory Overtime Complaint?||A: The Division of Labor Standards will conduct an investigation. You will receive an acknowledgement of your complaint. We may contact you if we need further information. DOL will also contact the health care employer as part of its investigation. If we determine that the complaint is valid, DOL will send a violation notice to the employer asking the employer to cease and desist from the use of mandatory overtime.
|Q: Who can I contact if I have questions?||A: You may contact the Division of Labor Standards at (888) 4-NYSDOL or (518) 457-9000 or via email at LSMandatoryOT|