TO: Regional Coordinators, Executive Board, and Statewide Nurses Committee
DATE: June 19, 2008
RE: Passage of S.6342/1898B Banning Mandatory Overtime for Nurses
I am pleased to inform you that late yesterday afternoon Governor Paterson, Assembly Speaker Silver, and Senate Majority Leader Bruno announced a three-way agreement on our bill to end mandatory overtime for nurses in New York State.
The agreement and imminent passage of the bill represents the culmination of nearly a decade of effort by PEF and our coalition partners SEIU, CWA, AFT, NYSUT, NYSNA, and CSEA. I would like to thank all of you who participated in our efforts over the years seeking passage of the bill, as well as the bill sponsors Senator Tom Morahan and Assembly Member Aileen Gunther. I especially want to thank our Legislative Director Brian Curran for his hard work and effort over the last several weeks to keep the bill on track and in the forefront of issues the legislature and governor were seeking to address.
Below is a brief summary of the bill and changes agreed to between the governor and the legislature.
- Amends the Labor Law to prohibit the practice of requiring mandatory overtime for nurses (RNs and LPNs).
- Prohibits health care employers from mandating that a nurse work more than their regular work schedule.
- Exceptions are allowed for emergencies and health care disasters.
- Applies to hospitals, nursing homes, and government- operated facilities that provide health care that are licensed under the Correction law, Mental Hygiene Law or Education Law, including facilities run by State and local government. This would include correctional facilities, OMH psychiatric centers, OMRDD facilities, OASAS facilities, as well as most other health care facilities.
- Does not prohibit a nurse from voluntarily working overtime if he or she feels professionally able to do so.
- Amends the Education Law to say that a nurse who refuses to work mandated overtime shall not be charged with patient abandonment if the nurse has given reasonable notice to his or her supervisor.
- Takes effect on July 1, 2009
Again, thank you for your efforts in achieving passage of this important piece of legislation.
Kenneth Brynien, President