Guarantee rest breaks and limit mandatory overtime

Assure nurses are alert and ready to provide the best patient care.

Nurses intercept 86% of medication errors before there is harm to patients, and always find time to provide care and comfort that leave an impression on patients and their families – it’s why year after year, nurses are voted the most trusted profession.

Yet, nurses often work 10, 12 or more hours in a row – sometimes without time to take a break. Ensuring uninterrupted breaks that allow nurses to refocus and recharge can literally be a lifesaver – but breaks don’t happen unless there are enough nurses on shift. This bill requires that hospitals give nurses the uninterrupted breaks needed to ensure quality patient care.

After working a 10 or 12 hour shift, many nurses are being called back for mandatory overtime. On-call nurses have always been for emergencies, but in recent years on-call nurses are routinely filling in for chronic shortages because some hospitals don’t hire enough nurses to cover a shift. This isn’t safe – for nurses or patients. We know that nurses who work shifts of 12.5 hours or longer are three times more likely to miss things – putting patients at risk.

This bill is needed for the safety of our nurses and – most importantly – for the safety of our patients.

HB 1715: Guarantee Rest Breaks & Limit Mandatory Overtime

March 29, 2017: This bill was not passed out of committee in the Senate and is now dead for the 2017 session.

  • Require nurses be provided with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, and says an employer may not require intermittent meal or rest periods.
  • Close the mandatory overtime loophole by clarifying that employers may not use prescheduled on-call time to fill chronic or foreseeable vacancies due to staff shortages.
  • Clarifies that employers may not schedule non-emergency procedures that would require overtime, such as schedule a 4-hour surgery that starts in hour 11 of a nurses 12-hour shift.
  • Limit on mandatory overtime in hospitals, hospice facilities, rural health care facilities, psychiatric hospitals, correctional (jail/prison) health care services, nursing homes, and home health facilities.