• Wisconsin 2009 Senate Bill 108 Seeks to Limit Mandatory Overtime and On-Call Hours Required of Health Care Workers
  • March 25, 2009 | Author: Lora L. Zimmer
  • Law Firm: Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP - Appleton Office
  • On Wednesday, March 11, 2009, Senate Bill 108 was introduced and referred to committee. This bill seeks to limit mandatory overtime and on-call hours required of certain health care workers in Wisconsin.

    The bill would affect the work hours required of employees of health care facilities, and employees of temporary help agencies and professional employer organizations placed with health care facilities, who are involved in providing direct health care services for patients, residents, or clients or in providing clinical or laboratory services, and who are paid hourly wages or are classified as nonsupervisory employees for collective bargaining purposes.

    Health care facilities would no longer be allowed to require such health care workers to work overtime (i.e., for more than a regularly scheduled daily work shift that has been determined and agreed to before the performance of the work). Health care facilities would also no longer be allowed to require health care workers to be on on-call time (which the bill defines as time during which a health care worker is required to be ready to report to work on short notice if the need arises) in lieu of working overtime or as a means of circumventing the prohibition under the bill against mandatory overtime.

    Exceptions to these prohibitions would apply in cases in which the health care worker consents to working overtime or to being on on-call time; in cases in which the health care worker’s continued presence through the completion of an ongoing medical or surgical procedure is essential to the health and safety of a patient; or in cases of unforeseeable emergency, such as major disasters. The bill specifies, however, that “unforeseeable emergency” does not include a situation in which a health care facility has inadequate staff due to chronic short staffing or other foreseeable causes.

    The bill seeks to impose forfeitures upon facilities that discharge or discriminate against health care workers in violation of these requirements.