Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D – Forestburgh) announced that her bill strengthening the oversight over the use of mandatory overtime by health care employers during an emergency has been signed into law by the governor (Ch. 27 of 2023).
“As a nurse myself, I understand our health care system and its dedicated nurses have been under an enormous amount of strain due to severe staffing shortages,” said Gunther. “Overwork, high stress, and burnout among health care workers have all contributed to this crisis, and we must take steps to fairly compensate them and ensure their well-being. While the practice of mandatory overtime can be necessary in a public health emergency, allowing it to be abused will only result in more nurses being forced to leave the field they love, which will worsen conditions for workers who stay on and the quality of the care that patients receive. I commend Governor Hochul for signing this measure protecting the health of our nurses, and I will continue to fight alongside my colleagues in the Assembly to improve our health care system.”
Under this law, health care employers are required to inform the state Department of Labor when utilizing an exception to the limitations on mandatory overtime provisions, to have first made a good faith effort to have overtime covered on a voluntary basis, and to have a poster informing employees of their rights displayed conspicuously in the workplace. Employers who violate mandatory overtime limitations will be subject to civil penalties. Additionally, the law empowers the Department of Labor to establish an enforcement officer to investigate complaints of violations.