State Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) gave testimony to House Bill 163, which prohibits mandatory overtime work for nurses as a condition of employment. Cutrona is a joint sponsor on the bipartisan bill and spoke to it during Wednesday’s House Commerce and Labor Committee hearing.
“The bill is meant to address the issue of nurses feeling compelled to work unscheduled overtime, which can result in negative health consequences for patients and nurses,” said Cutrona. “According to a February 2020 report done by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and The Ohio State University College of Nursing, excess work and overtime can result in negative outcomes for patients and nurses. In addition, non-overtime nurse staffing has shown to result in improved patient health outcomes.”
Cutrona acknowledges that under the legislation nurses can still voluntarily work overtime and hospitals can still offer overtime. Specifically, the bill prohibits a hospital from requiring a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to work in excess of agreed upon, predetermined, scheduled full-time or part-time workweek as a condition of continued employment.
“Hospitals will be prohibited from terminating employment, proposing to terminate employment, taking disciplinary or retaliatory action, or proposing to take disciplinary or retaliatory action solely because a nurse chooses not to work overtime,” Cutrona added.
Cutrona notes that the ultimate goal of the bill is to ensure policies are in place to protect the quality of care for patients and nurses alike.
The bipartisan bill was approved by the House in the previous General Assembly by a vote of 80-13 and was led by the former 59th Ohio House District State Representative Don Manning.
Yesterday’s testimony was the first hearing on House Bill 163.