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February 2023: New York Bill Restricts Consecutive Hours for Nurses

31 Jan

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Update Applicable to:
All employers of healthcare employees in the state of New York.

What happened?
On December 30, 2022, Governor Hochul signed Assembly Bill A286A (AB A286A)  into law, which will affect the restrictions on consecutive work hours for nurses.

What are the details?
Effective January 15, 2023, healthcare employers will be prohibited from requiring a nurse to work more than their regularly scheduled work hours unless:

  1. A healthcare disaster, including natural or other types of disasters, increasing the need for healthcare personnel, unexpectedly affects the county in which the nurse is employed or in a contiguous county; or
  • A federal, state, or county declaration of emergency in effect in the county in which the nurse is employed or in a contiguous county; or
  • Where a health care employer determines there is an emergency necessary to provide safe patient care, in which case the health care provider shall, before requiring an on-duty employee to remain, make a good faith effort to have overtime covered voluntarily, including, but not limited to, calling per diems, agency nurses, assigning floats, or requesting an additional day of work from off-duty employees to the extent such staffing options exist.

AB A286A does prohibit a nurse from voluntarily working overtime if they wish to do so.

Violations
If, after investigation, the commissioner from the Committee on Labor determines that an employer has violated this law, the commissioner shall issue to the employer an order directing compliance therewith, which shall describe the alleged violation particularly. A copy of such order shall be provided to any employee who has filed a complaint and to his or her authorized representative. The commissioner shall assess the employer for a civil penalty not exceeding one thousand dollars for a first violation, two thousand dollars for a second violation, or three thousand dollars for a third or subsequent violation. The employee shall receive an additional fifteen percent of the overtime payment from the employer for each violation as damages.

For more information, please see the links below:

Assembly Bill A286A (AB A286A)PDF Version

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above and educate their managers and/or shift supervisors to ensure that their nurse employees are not working more than their regularly assigned schedules unless the nurses volunteer for more hours.

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This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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