Nurses who are paid on an hourly basis must be paid overtime.  This includes both Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practice Nurses (LPNs).  The overtime rate is at least one and one-half times their usual hourly rate.

There is an exception for RNs who are paid on a salary basis.  If you are licensed as an RN, you are paid a salary, and your job responsibilities require you to use your knowledge and skills as an RN, then you may be “exempt” from the overtime rules.

The exception applies only if you are paid a salary and you actually perform the duties of an RN.  Your job title is not relevant.  The exception is based on your job duties.  If your job duties do not require you to use your skills as an RN, then you may be entitled to overtime even if you are paid a salary.  For example, you are not exempt from the overtime rules if an LPN could perform all your job responsibilities.

The right to overtime pay usually begins after you work 40 hours during a workweek.  Some nursing homes and hospitals may pay overtime based on an 8/80 rule.  The 8/80 rule states that a nurse will be paid overtime when she works more than 8 hours in any workday or 80 hours in any regularly recurring two-week period.

What if you work more than one job?  If you work for two different employers, then the number of hours you work is calculated for each employer.  For example, if you work 35 hours for one employer and 35 hours for a second employer, then you are not entitled to overtime.

The critical issue is identifying your employer.  For example, if you are employed by a staffing agency and you work a total of 70 hours at two different nursing homes, then the staffing agency must pay you at the overtime rate for 30 hours.

The overtime laws can be very confusing.  Do not let that stop you from being paid all the overtime compensation you deserve.  Call us at (212) 601-2728 for a free and confidential consultation.