For most people, the overtime pay structure in the U.S. seems pretty cut and dry. You generally know if you are or aren’t entitled to overtime pay compensation. However, sometimes there can be confusion, and employers aren’t always as forthcoming as they should be.
One of the areas that have the overtime lines blurred is the healthcare industry. Hospital staff and home health care workers don’t always operate on the standard 8 hours x 5 days per week. While this can raise some challenges and questions about the standard overtime rules, it does not mean that healthcare employers are relieved of their obligation to properly track and pay proper overtime to all non-exempt (overtime eligible) employees.
Understanding Who Gets Overtime in Health Care
There are regulations around who in the healthcare field can or can’t legally qualify to be exempt from overtime. RN’s for example, can be either exempt or non-exempt depending on how they are paid and whether their job duties include supervising at least two people and/or participating in management functions. If paid hourly, nurses will almost always be entitled to overtime pay. Similarly, nurse practitioners, particularly when paid hourly, have been found to be eligible for overtime.
Unlike RN’s, Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) or Licensed Vocational Nurses (LPN) generally don’t qualify for exempt status at all. While they may have considerable work experience and training, they do not have the legally required education level to meet the professional exemption from overtime pay.
The 8/80 rule for Health Care Overtime
The unique structure of the healthcare industry needed a unique overtime policy. As such, the 8/80 rule was born. It states any non-exempt employees working over 8 hours in one shift and/or 80 hours in two weeks are eligible for overtime.
For example, consider an employee who works the following schedule:
- Monday: 8 hours
- Tuesday: 6 hours
- Wednesday: 10 hours
- Thursday: 8 hours
This is a total of 36 hours, but they would be eligible for 2 hours of overtime because of the 10-hour shift on Wednesday.
Hospitals Choose Overtime Policies
This policy isn’t required to be used in place of the standard 40-hour workweek rule. Many hospitals choose this because of the unusual schedules that are kept—making time tracking much easier.
However, they can choose the 8/80 policy, standard overtime policy, or even both. Hospitals are allowed to use both policies depending on what works best for them. The only condition is that they can’t both be used on the same person.
What is 8/80 Overtime Double-Dipping?
What keeps employees who work over 8 hours per day and more than 80 hours in two weeks from double-dipping? When overtime payments are due for over 8 hours and over 80 hours, the over 8 hours are credited towards the over 80 hours for overtime.
This benefits employees by giving them more hours. This also benefits the employer by allowing them to only pay one overtime calculation.
Call Houston Overtime Attorneys with The Lore Law Firm
At the end of the day, overtime laws can vary by city or state. And these laws are written in confusing terms that are difficult to read and seem impossible to understand. But the great news for you is that there are people who read and understand them, and they are on your side!
These people are the overtime law experts at The Lore Law Firm. The team at Lore Law firm will fight for every penny of overtime that is owed to you. Allow us to put our 25 years of experience to work for you! Contact us today at 866-559-0400 or by filling out our contact form.