Nurses not getting paid overtime

Nurses getting overtime?

If you are a nurse it is likely that you have worked overtime in the past year. Do you know if you are being fairly compensated for the overtime work you are putting in? The American Nursing Association reports that more than half of nurses work mandatory or unplanned overtime each month. Oftentimes they are not paid required overtime wages, and this can happen for a variety of reasons.

Nurses often work long hours, and to maintain their job duties and responsibilities, they may work through lunches or breaks. When these working lunches and breaks are not compensated, it can often qualify as overtime work. Some healthcare companies may say that their nurses are exempt from receiving overtime pay because their employee is salaried.

Claiming that nurses are exempt from overtime because they are salaries is not necessarily true. Employees must meet the requirements of “learned professional exemption” to be exempt from overtime, and these are specific stipulations that involve your weekly earnings, the manner of your course of specialization, and the amount of discretion and judgement required for your work. Nurses can be misclassified into this exemption bracket. However, the qualifications must be thoroughly met, and employers often argue that nurses are exempt because they are paid salary or on a fee basis. These facts do not take into account the other requirements that are not met, such as the employee’s work must require consistent discretion and judgement, or that they must have taken a prolonged course of specialization for their work. A nurse whose primary responsibility requires unvarying or repeated tasks will most likely be not be considered exempt, which means they are eligible for overtime pay.

Nurses paid hourly wages are most likely owed overtime pay if their work week has exceeded 40 hours. Some nurses receive salary and some other kind of compensation, such as hourly or per patient pay.   Dunham & Jones can review your pay set-up and help you determine if you are not being paid the overtime wages you are owed.

Automatic mealtime deductions are not illegal, but when a nurse works through their lunch or break and are not compensated for this work, then there is a violation of  the Fair Labor Standards Act or FLSA. Nurses completing work duties off the clock, such as setting up equipment required for their job, can also be considered a pay violation.

If you are a nurse who has worked off the clock or more than 40 hours a week, you need to discuss your situation with a qualified overtime lawyer who knows the overtime laws involving overtime pay. This inequity of not being paid fairly should not go unexamined. Dunham & Jones can review your circumstances to determine if you are being paid fairly.

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Do nurses automatically lose their right to overtime pay?


Overtime pay is given to eligible workers who work more than 40 hours in a workweek. Qualifying for overtime is dependent on your job duties and hours worked, not necessarily by your job title.

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Does providing in-home care for elderly patients exempt me from overtime under the companionship exemption?


The companionship exemption may apply when you provide in-home care services for someone who is infirm or limited in their mobility due to age. If all exceptions are met under the companionship exemption, then that worker is exempt from minimum wage and overtime requirements. The exceptions for the companionship exemption can include: services such as household work, meal preparation, laundry, and bed-making. If general housework exceeds 20% of the total weekly hours worked, then the worker is not exempt from FLSA overtime and minimum wage requirements.

If you are employed to provide domestic service in the household you are protected by the FLSA. This protection is also allowed to nurses, certified nurse aides, and home health care aides. Registered nurses may be exempt under the professional exemption.

The companionship exemption is not always correctly applied, and recent proposed changes by Congress may cover more domestic workers than before.

If you believe you have been improperly exempt from FLSA overtime and minimum wage standards under the companionship exemption, then schedule a free evaluation of your case with Dunham & Jones.

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What are my rights as a live-in health care worker?


The regulations for domestic workers is especially complicated under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Many people are misclassified and as a result do not receive pay for overtime or they do not qualify to receive minimum wage. It is important that you thoroughly understand your title, duties, and exemption status. Live-in domestic service employees are covered by the FLSA but there is an exception with the over-time policy. If your employer tells you that you are exempt, it is not necessarily true. Your job and duties must meet specific qualifications to be considered exempt, and what an employer says does not supersede the standards set by the FLSA.

The FLSA details standards for live-in domestic service employees and the record keeping requirements of their employers. However, to fully evaluate your circumstances and understand which law applies to you, you should have a consultation with an attorney.

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Should paramedics and emergency medical technicians be paid for overtime?


According to the FLSA, paramedics and emergency medical technicians qualify for overtime pay unless their work is “substantially related to firefighting or law enforcement activities.” Overtime pay is 1.5 times the regular rate of pay. Working over 40 hours in a workweek should be compensated with overtime pay for most workers, and most workers are non-exempt.

The easiest way to be certain of your exemption status and ensure you are receiving the correct wages is by having your case evaluated by an experienced hour and wage attorney. At Dunham & Jones, we represent clients whose employer’s are not paying them the wages they deserve. Have your case reviewed by an experienced attorney and call now to set up an appointment.

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As a hospice worker who spends a lot of time traveling and working in other people’s homes, am I eligible to overtime pay?


Licensed nurses can often spend a lot of time working in the homes of their patients. Hospice workers in particular will often receive hourly wages and are eligible for overtime for extra time spent with patients, sometimes even including overnight stays. Most of the time, hospice workers are employed by hospitals and state agencies, which normally provides FLSA protections to their non-exempt employees.

If you have not received overtime wages, or if you have received the incorrect amount of overtime wages, it is possible to reclaim unpaid wages going back 2, sometimes even 3 years. If you are uncertain of your exemption status, or feel that your paychecks are not adding up, you should speak with an overtime attorney to evaluate your case. At Dunham & Jones, we will meet with you for a free initial case evaluation. We will answer all questions you have about your situation, so call now to set up an appointment.

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