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Pennsylvania's New Law Against Mandatory Overtime

Starting July 1, 2009, nurses and other direct caregivers will no longer be forced to work beyond their scheduled shift, except in cases of real emergencies. After years of efforts, Pennsylvania nurses have won this important protection for the sake of our patients and our profession.

The new law ("Act 102") prohibits healthcare facilities from requiring nurses and other direct caregivers to work in excess of agreed to, predetermined, and regularly scheduled daily work shifts.

Facts about the New Law

What Does this Mean for Nurses?

Nurses and other caregivers covered by the law can refuse overtime and no longer be dismissed or retaliated against by their employer. They can still volunteer for overtime.

Who is Covered?

The law covers employees who work in direct patient care or clinical services, including RNs, LPNs, respiratory therapists, and certain laboratory technicians. Physicians and physician assistants are excluded.

Which Healthcare Facilities are Covered?

All medical facilities including acute care hospitals, psychiatric hospitals, rehab facilities, nursing homes, ambulatory surgical facilities and state health facilities.

What About Emergency Situations? Are there Any Exceptions?

The law provides for certain exceptions including declared national, state, or municipal emergencies, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, or widespread outbreaks of disease. However, if there is an exception (i.e., a real emergency as defined under the Act), MOT can only be used as a last resort and after other steps have been taken. The employer must exhaust reasonable efforts to obtain other staffing before mandating overtime. These efforts include that your employer

1) seek persons who volunteer to work extra time from all available qualified staff who are working at the time of the unforeseeable emergent circumstance; 2) contact all qualified employees who have made themselves available to work extra time; 3) seek the use of per diem staff; or 4) seek personnel from a contracted temporary agency when such staff is permitted by law or regulation.

My management just said we will be having mandatory on-call when we have a hole in the schedule. Is that allowed?

The bill specifically prohibits the use of mandatory overtime to solve chronic short staffing and the use of on-call time as a substitute for mandatory overtime.

What Are My Rights?

An employee worked more than 12 consecutive hours shall be entitled to at least ten consecutive hours of off-duty time immediately after the worked overtime.

After July 1, 2009, If you suspect a violation of the law has occurred, contact the Department of Labor at 1-800-932-0665.

For more information, a complaint form, FAQs, and more information, go to the Department of Labor's webpage on Act 102.

Feel free to contact PASNAP for further questions at 610-567-2907x113.

Implementation of Act 102, Prohibition of Mandatory Overtime

PASNAP will be actively monitoring and troubleshooting the implementation of this new law. To help us in our efforts, please feel out the confidential form below.


Your E-mail (required):

What is your Job Title (RN? LPN?):

Facility/Hospital Name:


Has your facility relied on mandatory overtime for nurses and other direct caregivers?:

Has your facility implemented/planned to implement any new policies to avoid mandatory overtime?:

What are these new policies or practices?

Are you concerned with current practices at your facility regarding mandatory overtime?:

What are your concerns? Please feel out the form below. Again, your personal information will remain confidential.