What are my rights as an employee for paid overtime? 2 Answers as of June 02, 2011

I've called the Labor dept and asked under what conditions can a hospital employer pay straight time for 12 hr shifts worked in one day. They say that is not possible. The hospitals state that they file under "district hospital status" which allows them to do this.

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Law Office of Cindy Lin
Law Office of Cindy Lin | Cindy Lin
According to the DOL website, the federal Fair Labor Standards Act provides: "Covered nonexempt employees must receive overtime pay for hours worked over 40 per workweek (any fixed and regularly recurring period of 168 hours seven consecutive 24-hour periods) at a rate not less than one and one-half times the regular rate of pay. There is no limit on the number of hours employees 16 years or older may work in any workweek. The FLSA does not require overtime pay for work on weekends, holidays, or regular days of rest, unless overtime is worked on such days." Thus, federal law requires overtime pay based on the hours worked *per week, * not *per shift.* You may, therefore, receive regular compensation for a 12 hour shift. Note, however, that federal or state laws may require that while working such a long shift, you are entitled to receive a certain number of breaks. If you work 40+ hours a week and still are not paid overtime, some employers and employees are exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, and usually to a lesser extent, from state wage and hour statutes. This may be what your employer means by filing under "district hospital status." Hospital Districts are usually local government entities and as such, are subject to state and local laws. I would search online for "wage and hour" or overtime laws relating to your state, county and/or city, to see if you can find an exemption that applies to hospital districts.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/2/2011
Komanapalli Massey LLP
Komanapalli Massey LLP | Mark A. Massey, Esq.
Hospitals are employers just like any other.They have no special exemptions with regard to the requirements respecting payment of their employees.File a complaint with the labor board. The burden is on the hospital to prove that it complied with the laws regarding payment of overtime, allowances of lunch and other breaks, and so on. You will prevail and be rewarded handsomely.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/2/2011
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