Austin and Houston Nursing Overtime Lawyer

Understanding Nursing Labor Laws and Overtime Pay

nursing overtime
Table of Contents

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that employees who work more than 40 hours in a workweek receive overtime pay at 1.5 their regular rate. Sometimes, employers in the healthcare industry may pay overtime for hours worked over eight in any workday, or eighty hours in a fourteen-day work period. Regardless of the method used to calculate overtime, many nurses and healthcare workers are entitled to nursing overtime pay.

Unfortunately, employees of nursing homes, assisted living centers, home health agencies, and hospitals are often the victims of overtime wage theft.

Employers are required by law to pay additional wages to employees who work more than 40 hours in a typical work week. Employers often accidentally or intentionally fail to pay workers the overtime compensation they earned. If your employer fails to pay you the overtime wages you are owed properly, you may be eligible to take legal action and seek compensation.

At Leichter Law, we understand that nurses may not be aware of their rights regarding overtime pay. For this reason, we advise you to contact an attorney with experience holding employers accountable for wage and overtime theft. By hiring an attorney you can trust, you may be able to recover the wages you are owed. Call our Texas employment lawyers at (512) 495-9995 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

What Aspects of Employment Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Dictate?

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) sets the federal standards that all employers in the United States must meet regarding the employment of any individual. Among the most commonly cited standards the FLSA sets are the federal minimum wage, overtime wages, and child labor laws.

While every company in the United States must adhere to these rules, state or municipal laws may additionally dictate minimum wages, overtime, and work conditions. The FLSA also sets specific standards regarding nurses and overtime, which we will cover later.

What Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) State About Overtime Pay?

For covered, nonexempt employees, the FLSA requires overtime pay to be at least 1.5 times an employee’s regular pay rate after 40 hours. Some exceptions apply under exceptional circumstances to police and firefighters and employees of hospitals and nursing homes. Further, some states have overtime laws.

In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard, meaning the standard that pays better. Also, extra pay for working weekends or nights is a matter of agreement between the employer and the employee (or the employee’s representative). Because this federal law is so complex, we strongly recommend that nurses who work overtime speak with a skilled employment lawyer.

Do Nurses Get Overtime Pay in Texas?

mandatory overtime for nurses

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas has the second-highest number of working nurses in the nation. California has the highest number of working nurses. Even working as a nurse part-time is taxing, but full-time nursing is an extraordinary task. Many employees in health care facilities work longer hours than employees in other industries. They also work overtime fairly regularly, sometimes due to mandatory overtime laws.

Nurses who work voluntary or mandatory overtime hours are often exploited by their employers once payday rolls around. The labor and employment law specialists at Leichter Law are committed to recovering the unpaid overtime Texas nurses are owed. In the following sections, we outline how specific nursing professions may be affected by overtime regulations.

Unfortunately, due to a significant nursing shortage nationwide, many employers of registered nurses, Licensed Vocational Nurses, and CNAs now require mandatory overtime. While this may lessen the burden for the healthcare industry, it further burdens the working nurses. In general, RNs are considered to be exempt employees, which means they are not guaranteed overtime pay.

Conversely, LVNs and CNAs usually qualify for overtime, as they are not exempted by the “learned professional test.” The learned professional test exempts employees when they meet the following criteria.

  • The worker makes $684 per week, which is $35,568 annually.
  • Their work requires advanced knowledge, which means it is intellectual and requires constant discretion and judgment.
  • That advanced knowledge is in a science or learning field.
  • The advanced knowledge is generally acquired via specialized courses or an advanced degree.

RNs meet this criteria, while LVNs and CNAs do not. Therefore, registered nurses are generally exempt from overtime pay, unless they are paid hourly.

LPNs and LVNs are the same, but Texas only uses the term LVN. In general, licensed vocational nurses are not exempt from overtime pay. They are considered non-exempt employees unless they meet very specific criteria. If you are unsure of your status under the FLSA, contact a Texas employment lawyer with Leichter Law as soon as possible.

According to the FLSA, the FLSA covers “all nursing care enterprises, public and private, whether operated for profit or not for profit.” In general, unless a nursing home or assisted living facility employee is exempt, they are entitled to overtime in Texas.

What Is Mandatory Overtime for Nurses?

mandatory overtime nursing

Most states allow for mandatory overtime for nurses, including Texas. Under Texas law, hospitals and healthcare facilities where nurses work must establish clear procedures for forced overtime. Through this requirement, healthcare employers cannot force employees to work overtime without notice.

Is Mandatory Overtime Legal in Texas for Nurses?

With a few exceptions, nurses in Texas can refuse to work mandatory overtime. “Mandatory overtime” means a requirement that a nurse work hours or days that are in addition to the hours or days scheduled. While many nurses want to work overtime for extra pay, others are content with their regularly scheduled hours. Currently, there are four situations in which Texas nurses may not decline working overtime.

  • Natural disasters in their county or an adjacent county
  • Government-declared emergencies in their county or an adjacent county
  • Other emergencies that increase staffing needs
  • Ongoing procedures that require the nurse’s continued attendance to the patient

In cases of emergency, hospitals must first attempt to satisfy staffing needs through voluntary overtime. Hospitals also may not retaliate against nurses for declining overtime.

Ways in Which Employers Violate the Overtime Rights of Nurses

nursing labor laws

Failing to pay a nonexempt employee for overtime hours worked is illegal. However, many employers try to avoid trouble by sneakily denying full-time employees the compensation they earned. Some ways in which different healthcare professionals are exploited include the following.

  • Requiring work off the clock
  • Automatic meal time deduction when the employee does not receive an uninterrupted meal period
  • Working or preparing for a shift before the shift begins
  • Completing job duties and patient care after the shift ends
  • Completing charts and notes after the shift ends
  • Unpaid meetings, training, and seminars
  • Fixed rate per visit without an increase for hours over 40 in a week
  • Failure to pay for travel time between visits
  • Unpaid meetings, training, and seminars
  • Failure to pay for charting at home or after hours
  • Misclassifying employees as exempt merely because they are paid a salary. Just because an employee receives a salary does not mean they are not entitled to overtime pay.
  • Misclassifying LVNs and LPNs as exempt professional employees. These nurses do not qualify as exempt professionals and are almost always entitled to overtime pay.
  • They misclassify RNs as exempt professional employees when they are not working in a clinical setting, or are paid by the hour.
  • Misclassifying nurses as “independent contractors.” Nurses working through medical staffing companies are often labeled contractors or 1099 employees. They receive the same hourly rate for all hours worked, even those over 40 in a workweek. Even independent contractors are often entitled to overtime pay.

If you are a nurse and worked more than 40 hours per week without additional overtime compensation, speak with a qualified Texas overtime attorney today. Our board-certified employment law specialist can help you recover up to three years of overtime back payments. Call the Leichter Law Firm at (512) 495-9995 to schedule your free consultation today.

U.S. Department of Labor – Nurse Overtime Pay Facts

do nurses get overtime

The U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division’s (WHD) mission is clear – “to promote and achieve compliance with labor standards to protect and enhance the welfare of the nation’s workforce.”

According to the Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division, the points below are specific to nurses.

“For nurses to qualify for the learned professional employee exemption, all of the following tests must be met:

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis (as defined in the regulations) at a rate not less than $684 per week;
  • The employee’s primary duty must be the performance of work requiring advanced knowledge, defined as work that is predominantly intellectual and which includes work requiring the regular exercise of discretion and judgment;
  • Their advanced knowledge must be in a field of science or learning; and
  • Their advanced knowledge must be customarily acquired by a prolonged course of specialized intellectual instruction.

Registered nurses who are paid on an hourly basis should receive overtime pay. However, registered nurses who are registered by the appropriate State examining board meet the duties requirements for the learned professional exemption, and if paid on a salary basis of at least $684 per week, may be classified as exempt.

However, licensed practical nurses and similar healthcare employees generally do not qualify as exempt learned professionals, regardless of work experience and training. This is because possessing a specialized advanced academic degree is not a standard prerequisite for entry into such occupations, and are entitled to overtime pay.”

Do I Need A Wage and Overtime Attorney?

do nurses get overtime pay

If you don’t believe you are getting fair wages from your employer, you likely have questions about how to recover those wages and hold your employer accountable. When will I get paid my overtime pay so I can pay my bills? Is there a risk of getting fired if I dispute my paycheck? Do I need an attorney?

If your employer fails to pay you your earned wages, you might be legally entitled to file a lawsuit. Remember, it may be difficult to get the compensation you deserve without a lawyer representing you against your employer. Leichter Law Firm has the experience to help you take action, and we are ready to fight for the wages you are owed.

Why Choose Leichter Law Firm PC?

Louis Leichter, an Austin-based, board-certified labor and employment law specialist, founded Leichter Law Firm. Our knowledgeable legal team consists of highly skilled and accomplished attorneys, each of whom is dedicated to fighting for the rights of each client aggressively. We understand each client’s different needs and goals and are here to work tirelessly on their behalf. We have the in-depth experience to assist workers in getting the fair treatment and compensation they deserve. Call (512) 495-9995 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.

How Long Will My Nursing Overtime Case Take?

mandatory overtime in nursing

Each case possesses a unique set of obstacles, so it is tough to estimate the overall timeline of your case without knowing all the facts. Additionally, many variables may lengthen or shorten any specific case. Once an overtime nurse claims attorney is familiar with each client’s case, they will be able to give you a better idea of how long your case may take. This is another significant benefit of working with an employment lawyer – you won’t go in blind.

Contact a Nursing Overtime Lawyer at Leichter Law Today

If you believe that your employer failed to pay you for overtime that you worked and are owed, contact our Austin and Houston nursing overtime claim attorneys. We will fight aggressively to ensure they pay you for the time you put in. To schedule your free consultation with us, please call our office at (512) 495-9995 today. On overtime cases, we operate on a contingency fee basis, which means you won’t pay a dime unless we secure a recovery on your behalf.

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