House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
Labor & Workplace Standards Committee
This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.
Brief Description: Concerning meal and rest breaks and mandatory overtime for certain health care employees.
Sponsors: Representatives Riccelli, Appleton, Sells, Chapman, Fitzgibbon, Cody, Pellicciotti, Frame, Sullivan, Wylie, Jinkins, Orwall, Valdez, Ortiz-Self, Stonier, Thai, Lovick, Reeves, Doglio, Pollet, Bergquist, Santos, Macri, Goodman, Robinson and Stanford.
Hearing Date: 1/21/19
Staff: Trudes Tango (786-7384).
Meal and Rest Periods.
The Department of Labor and Industries (Department) establishes requirements for meal and rest breaks for employees. Employees working over five hours must be allowed to take a 30-minute meal period. Meal periods may be unpaid if the employee is completely relieved from duties during the meal period. Meal periods must be paid if the employee must remain on the premises and act in the interest of the employer. An employee who is required to remain on the premises and act in the interest of the employer may have their meal period interrupted to perform tasks, but once the task is complete, the meal period continues until the employee receives 30 minutes total.
Regarding rest periods, employees must receive a paid rest period of at least 10 minutes for each four-hour period worked. The rest period must be allowed no later than the end of the third hour worked.
Employees need not be given an uninterrupted 10-minute break if the nature of the work allows for intermittent rest periods equal to 10 minutes. The Department's administrative policy describes intermittent rest periods as intervals of short duration in which employees are allowed to rest, and can include personal activities such as making personal telephone calls and attending to personal business. In certain circumstances, employers may require employees to remain on-call during their paid rest breaks. Employees may remain on-call during rest periods, but if they are called to duty, the break becomes an intermittent rest period.
Health care facilities are prohibited from requiring certain employees to work overtime. Employees may voluntarily agree to work overtime, but cannot be required to do so or be retaliated against for refusing. The employees covered by this provision are licensed practical nurses and registered nurses involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services and who receive an hourly wage.
The mandatory overtime prohibition does not apply to work that occurs:
because of any unforeseeable emergent circumstance;
because of prescheduled on-call time;
when the employer has used reasonable efforts to obtain staffing; or
when an employee must work overtime to complete a patient care procedure already in progress where it would be detrimental to the patient if the employee left.
The health care facilities covered by this mandatory overtime prohibition are:
rural health care facilities;
certain psychiatric hospitals; and
facilities owned or operated by prisons and jails that provide health care services to inmates in the custody of the Department of Corrections.
Summary of Bill:
Meal and Rest Periods.
A hospital must provide certain employees with meal and rest periods as required by law, except that:
rest periods may be taken at any point in the work period; and
meal and rest periods must be uninterrupted, and the employer may not require the employee to take intermittent meal or rest periods.
However, a meal or rest period may be interrupted where there is an unforeseeable emergent circumstance or a clinical circumstance that may lead to patient harm without the employee's specific skill or expertise.
The hospital must record when an employee takes or misses a meal or rest period and maintain the records as required by the Department.
Employees covered by these provisions are licensed practical nurses, registered nurses, surgical technologists, diagnostic radiologic technologists, cardiovascular invasive specialists, respiratory care practitioners, and certified nursing assistants who:
are involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services; and
receive an hourly wage or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
The mandatory overtime prohibitions are expanded to apply to the same groups of employees covered under the meal and rest period provisions. However, for facilities owned and operated by prisons and jails, the restrictions apply only to licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.
Employers may not use prescheduled on-call time to fill chronic or foreseeable staff shortages. The exceptions to the overtime prohibition are amended. The exception for prescheduled on-call time applies only if it is necessary for immediate and unanticipated patient care emergencies. The exception for procedures in progress is amended to provide that employers may not schedule nonemergency procedures that would require overtime. For health care facilities owned and operated by prisons and jails, the requirement that the facility provide care "to inmates" in state custody is deleted.
Fiscal Note: Requested on January 16, 2019.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.