PASNAP helped to pass Pennsylvania’s ban on mandatory overtime for healthcare workers in 2009. It took years of rallies, petitions, and visits and phone calls to elected officials in Harrisburg, but legislators ultimately recognized how mandatory overtime was bad for healthcare workers and created serious danger for patients.
They passed the law — PA Act 102, the Prohibition of Mandatory Overtime for Healthcare Workers — with strong bipartisan support all over the state.
While we’re proud of this victory, we also know that mandatory overtime is still a serious issue for healthcare workers. Too many employers are abusing or ignoring the law. We continue to work with the PA Department of Labor and Industry — the department responsible for enforcing the law — to raise awareness and hold employers accountable.
What To Do If You Are Mandated*
- Make sure you are actually being mandated, not just asked or encouraged to stay late or work overtime. Ask your manager directly: “Am I being mandated?”
- If he or she says yes and confirms that you are mandated, do not refuse. Even if the mandation is illegal, you don’t want to put yourself in a position where your manager could discipline or even terminate you. Fighting to remove a discipline or win back a job can be expensive and time-consuming; it’s better to fight from inside.
- Ask management what they did to avoid having to mandate you. The law requires that healthcare facilities take steps to avoid mandation. If management refuses to tell you what was done, they may be acting in bad faith. If they tell you that did not take any steps, then they are confirming that they violated the law. This is helpful to know when you file your complaint form (Step 7).
- Do not sign any forms from management. They may try to have you sign a form indicating that they were justified in mandating you. You are not legally required to sign such a form. In some cases, employers may use these forms in a deliberate effort to get around the law.
- If you are mandated, your employer should give you up to one hour away from work, outside of the facility, to make necessary arrangements for things like childcare, etc. Ask for this time and use it.
- If you are a PASNAP member, call your Unit Rep, Staff Rep, or local officers immediately. They can give additional guidance and specific advice for where you work.
- As soon as you are able, fill out the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry Act 102 Complaint Form. Be thorough, but stay objective and stick to the facts.
- If mandation occurs regularly at your facility, fill out a complaint form every time you are mandated. Make sure that your coworkers are also filling out complaint forms if/when they are mandated. This is how you will build a paper trail to show that your managers are using mandatory overtime illegally. More complaints, with more documentation, will raise more red flags and help investigators see the full extent of the issue.
- Call your State Rep. and/or the State Rep. whose district covers your workplace. Legislators banned mandatory overtime because there was bipartisan recognition that it was bad for healthcare workers and dangerous for patients. Legislators do not enforce the law, but they can question hospital administrators, raise awareness, and work behind the scenes to help resolve issues — but only if they know the issue is happening.
- If you do not belong to a union, talk to your coworkers and consider joining. As union members, we have rights on the job, protections won through our contracts, and processes in place to help us deal with problem managers. Call PASNAP at 610-567-2907 or learn more here.
*This does not constitute legal advice, but represents PASNAP’s best recommendations based on our understanding of the law and our significant experience dealing with employers. You should always consult a lawyer if you need specific legal advice.