Meal And Rest Breaks

Ensure nurses receive uninterrupted meal and rest breaks so that they can provide the highest quality 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 – that’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. This bill requires that hospitals give nurses the uninterrupted breaks needed to ensure quality patient care.

Additionally, this bill closes the mandatory overtime loophole. 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

  • Require nurses be provided with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks, and says an employer may not require intermittent meal or rest periods.
  • Allows for a break to be interrupted only in an emergency situation or when a nurse’s specific skill or expertise is needed to avoid patient harm.
  • Gives nurses the flexibility to take their break when it works for them and their patients and does not require that breaks be taken at a certain time.
  • 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 and does not eliminate call nor elective overtime, and it makes exceptions for emergency situations.
  • 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.