• Mandatory Overtime Regulations Adopted in NJ
  • May 9, 2004 | Author: Alicia A. Zonetti
  • Law Firm: Fox Rothschild LLP - Princeton Office
  • Health care facilities and health care service firms in New Jersey are subject to new mandatory overtime regulations, thanks to the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services ("DOHSS"). The Department recently adopted regulations that impose detailed mandatory overtime procedural and recordkeeping requirements on all DOHSS-licensed health care facilities, including state or county psychiatric hospitals, state developmental centers, and health care service firms registered by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs. The rules set forth standards and procedures governing the use of required overtime by hourly wage employees involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services in health care facilities.

    Exemptions
    Notably, the requirements do not apply to physicians, volunteers, employees who volunteer to work overtime, certain assisted living facility employees who reside at the facility, employees who assume on-call duty, certain employees assisting in non-elective surgical or therapeutic procedures already in progress, and employees not involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services. The regulations also provide that they are not to impair or negate employer-employee collective bargaining agreements or other employer-employee contracts in effect as of January 1, 2003 for licensed general hospitals and as of July 1, 2003 for all other licensed facilities.

    Under the new regulations, covered facilities and firms are required to create policies and procedures for the purpose of training and educating staff on mandatory overtime. The policies and procedures must include mandatory educational programs that address at least the following: (1) the conditions under which an employer can require mandatory overtime; (2) overtime procedures; (3) employee rights; and (4) complaint procedures.

    The new regulations also require staffing plans that include procedures providing for replacement staff in the event of sickness, vacation, vacancies and other employee absences. These staffing plans must be made available to the New Jersey Department of Labor and the DOHSS upon request.

    Recordkeeping systems must also address circumstances where employees are required to work in excess of an agreed to, predetermined and regularly scheduled daily work shift or in excess of 40 hours per week. The records must contain eight (8) elements, including employee name, job title, work area, date of overtime worked, number of hours of overtime mandated, daily work schedule, reason for the overtime, description of the employer's reasonable efforts exhausted prior to requiring overtime (which may only be based on a limited number of factors) and be signed by the individual authorizing overtime. This information must be provided to employees who are required to work overtime. Posting requirements must also be met.

    The new regulations contain non-retaliation provisions, and a procedure for filing complaints. Noncompliance with the regulations may result in a DOHSS fine of up to $1,000 per day and/or a survey deficiency. Noncompliance may also constitute a wage and hour violation under DOL regulations.