House of Representatives
Office of Program Research
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: Addressing meal and rest breaks and mandatory overtime for certain health care employees.
Sponsors: Representatives Reykdal, Riccelli, Ryu, S. Hunt, Peterson, Ormsby, Stanford, Goodman, Cody, Tharinger, Ortiz-Self, Bergquist, Fitzgibbon, Farrell, Sullivan, Dunshee, Moscoso, Appleton, Sells, Pollet, Robinson, Walkinshaw, Jinkins, Senn, Wylie, Lytton, Hudgins, Tarleton, Kagi, Moeller, Sawyer, Fey, Pettigrew, Gregerson, Orwall, Santos, Kirby, McBride, Takko, Gregory, Clibborn, Springer, Van De Wege, Blake, Kilduff and Hansen.
Hearing Date: 2/3/15
Staff: Trudes Tango (786-7384).
Meal and Rest Periods.
The Department of Labor and Industries (Department) establishes, by rule, 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 his or her duties during the meal period. Meal periods are on the employer's time if the employee must remain on the premises and act in the interest of the employer.
Regarding rest periods, employees must receive a rest period of at least 10 minutes for each four hour period worked. Rest periods are on the employer's time. The rest period must be allowed no later than the end of the third hour worked.
When the nature of the work allows, employees may take intermittent rest periods that add up to 10 minutes, rather than having scheduled rest periods. Intermittent rest periods are intervals of short duration in which employees are allowed to rest and can include personal activities such as making personal phone calls, attending to personal business, and eating a snack.
Health care facilities are prohibited from requiring certain employees to work overtime. Employees may voluntarily accept to work overtime, but cannot be required to do so or be retaliated against for refusing to work overtime. The employees covered by this provision are licensed practical nurses and registered nurses, who are involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services and receive an hourly wage.
The mandatory overtime prohibition does not apply to work that occurs:
because of any unforeseeable emergent circumstance;
because of pre-scheduled on-call time;
when the employer has used reasonable efforts to obtain staffing; and
when an employee must work overtime to complete a patient care procedure already in progress where the employee's absence would have an adverse effect on the patient.
The health care facilities covered by this mandatory overtime prohibition are:
rural health care facilities;
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.
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.
receive an hourly wage or are covered by a collective bargaining agreement.
The mandatory overtime restrictions are expanded to apply to surgical technologists, diagnostic radiologic technologists, cardiovascular invasive specialists, respiratory care practitioners, and certified nursing assistants (except in facilities owned and operated by prisons and jails). The restrictions apply to those covered by a collective bargaining agreement, in addition to those who receive an hourly wage.
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 pre-scheduled 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 30, 2015.
Effective Date: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.