Anti-Mandatory Overtime for Home Care Nurses
As a constituent, I am seeking your support in ensuring the passage of S.5678 (Savino)/A.3756 (Gunther). This legislation limits the number of consecutive hours a home care nurse is required to work. However, this bill does not prohibit voluntary overtime assignments.
Due to nursing staff shortages throughout our state, nurses are often subjected to mandatory overtime. Working long hours in such a high-stress environment can take its toll on the physical and emotional well-being of these nurses, which can lead to negative consequences for their patients.
The enactment of Chapter 495 of the Laws of 2008, provided protections to most nurses in New York State from being required by their employer to work overtime. The law states that a nurse cannot be required to work beyond their regularly scheduled work hours except in the case of an emergency. However, this law did not restrict the number of consecutive hours a home care nurse may be required to work. This means that nurses who make home care visits or work in a home care setting can be forced by their employer to work beyond their regularly scheduled hours with little or no warning and as frequently as the employer sees fit.
The enactment of A.3756 would extend these common sense protections to home care nurses by amending the law to include home care nurses under the definition of nursing staff. This bill will ensure that all nurses in New York State are provided the same basic protections against mandatory overtime and that an employer must find other ways to address staffing shortages.
No nurse should be forced to work hours that they are not regularly scheduled to work and/or did not initially agree to work as a result of poor staffing decisions by their employer. By enacting this legislation, an employer in the home care industry will no longer be able to force its nursing staff to work extra hours under non-emergency conditions.
Thank you for your consideration of this important matter. I respectfully ask that you bring up this issue with your conference and I look forward to a reply to my letter.
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