ENGROSSED SENATE BILL 6675





                        57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the Senate February 18, 2002

  YEAS 40   NAYS 9




President of the Senate


Passed by the House March 8, 2002

  YEAS 82   NAYS 14



I, Tony M. Cook, Secretary of the Senate of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is  ENGROSSED SENATE BILL 6675 as passed by the Senate and the House of Representatives on the dates hereon set forth.




Speaker of the

      House of Representatives









Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.  





Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington



                    ENGROSSED SENATE BILL 6675



             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington   57th Legislature        2002 Regular Session


By Senators Prentice, Fairley, Rasmussen, Fraser, Keiser, Costa, Franklin and Spanel


Read first time 01/25/2002.  Referred to Committee on Labor, Commerce & Financial Institutions.

Prohibiting health care facilities from requiring employees to perform overtime work. 

    AN ACT Relating to prohibiting health care facilities from requiring employees to perform overtime work; adding new sections to chapter 49.28 RCW; creating a new section; and prescribing penalties.




    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 1.  Washington state is experiencing a critical shortage of qualified, competent health care workers.  To safeguard the health, efficiency, and general well-being of health care workers and promote patient safety and quality of care, the legislature finds, as a matter of public policy, that required overtime work should be limited with reasonable safeguards in order to ensure that the public will continue to receive safe, quality care.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  The definitions in this section apply throughout this section and sections 3 and 4 of this act unless the context clearly requires otherwise.

    (1) "Employee" means a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW employed by a health care facility who is involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services and receives an hourly wage.

    (2) "Employer" means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, state institution, political subdivision of the state, or person or group of persons, acting directly or indirectly in the interest of a health care facility.

    (3) "Health care facility" means the following facilities, or any part of the facility, that operates on a twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week basis:  Hospices licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW, hospitals licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW, rural health care facilities as defined in RCW 70.175.020, and psychiatric hospitals licensed under chapter 71.12 RCW, and includes such facilities if owned and operated by a political subdivision or instrumentality of the state.  If a nursing home regulated under chapter 18.51 RCW or a home health agency regulated under chapter 70.127 RCW is operating under the license of a health care facility, the nursing home or home health agency is considered part of the health care facility for the purposes of this subsection.

    (4) "Overtime" means the hours worked in excess of an agreed upon, predetermined, regularly scheduled shift within a twenty-four hour period not to exceed twelve hours in a twenty-four hour period or eighty hours in a consecutive fourteen-day period.

    (5) "On-call time" means time spent by an employee who is not working on the premises of the place of employment but who is compensated for availability or who, as a condition of employment, has agreed to be available to return to the premises of the place of employment on short notice if the need arises.

    (6) "Reasonable efforts" means that the employer, to the extent reasonably possible, does all of the following but is unable to obtain staffing coverage:

    (a) Seeks individuals to volunteer to work extra time from all available qualified staff who are working;

    (b) Contacts qualified employees who have made themselves available to work extra time;

    (c) Seeks the use of per diem staff; and

    (d) Seeks personnel from a contracted temporary agency when such staffing is permitted by law or an applicable collective bargaining agreement, and when the employer regularly uses a contracted temporary agency.

    (7) "Unforeseeable emergent circumstance" means (a) any unforeseen declared national, state, or municipal emergency; (b) when a health care facility disaster plan is activated; or (c) any unforeseen disaster or other catastrophic event which substantially affects or increases the need for health care services.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 3.  (1) No employee of a health care facility may be required to work overtime.  Attempts to compel or force employees to work overtime are contrary to public policy, and any such requirement contained in a contract, agreement, or understanding is void.

    (2) The acceptance by any employee of overtime is strictly voluntary, and the refusal of an employee to accept such overtime work is not grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge, or any other penalty, threat of reports for discipline, or employment decision adverse to the employee.

    (3) This section does not apply to overtime work that occurs:

    (a) Because of any unforeseeable emergent circumstance;

    (b) Because of prescheduled on‑call time;

    (c) When the employer documents that the employer has used reasonable efforts to obtain staffing.  An employer has not used reasonable efforts if overtime work is used to fill vacancies resulting from chronic staff shortages; or

    (d) When an employee is required to work overtime to complete a patient care procedure already in progress where the absence of the employee could have an adverse effect on the patient.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 4.  The department of labor and industries shall investigate complaints of violations of section 3 of this act.  A violation of section 3 of this act is a class 1 civil infraction in accordance with chapter 7.80 RCW, except that the maximum penalty is one thousand dollars for each infraction up to three infractions.  If there are four or more violations of section 3 of this act for a health care facility, the employer is subject to a fine of two thousand five hundred dollars for the fourth violation, and five thousand dollars for each subsequent violation.  The department of labor and industries is authorized to issue and enforce civil infractions according to chapter 7.80 RCW.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  Sections 2 through 4 of this act are each added to chapter 49.28 RCW.


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