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Do nurses qualify for overtime pay?

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In Montgomery, Pennsylvania, the health care industry is one of the leading employers, according to data provided by the Center for Workforce Information and Analysis. If you are a nurse who works within the health care system in the area, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division outlines the laws that govern how your employer must compensate you for your work time.

Because the Fair Labor Standards Act provides exemptions from minimum wage and overtime pay for some nurses, it is essential for you to understand these so you can ensure that you are receiving the wages you deserve. There are certain conditions for nurses to meet before they can legally be denied overtime pay. To be exempt from overtime, qualifications include the following:

  •          Your weekly wages are salary or fee based and exceed $455 each week.
  •          You received an education that resulted in advanced knowledge in a science or learning field.
  •          The main duties you perform require you to make autonomous decisions that correspond with your advanced knowledge of the field.

If you are a licensed practical nurse, the education you received in order to perform your duties is not considered advanced, so you are not exempt. Your employer must pay you overtime pay, which is equal to one-and-a-half times your regular hourly wage.

If you work in a nursing home, the way your overtime is determined may vary. The Fair Labor Standards Act has specific guidelines for skilled nursing facilities and other similar health care facilities. You may be on a pay system that accounts for hours on an 8-hour workday during an 80-hour work period of 14 days, or a 7-day workweek of 40 hours. This information about federal wage laws for nurses is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.