State Rep. Al Cutrona (R-Canfield) will soon be introducing legislation that prohibits mandatory overtime work for nurses as a condition of employment. The bipartisan bill passed 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.
“I’m proud to carry on the work of the late and great Don Manning,” said Cutrona. “We’ve seen reports that employers have threatened disciplinary action if nurses do not work unscheduled overtime. This bill codifies that nurses cannot be forced into overtime. Being overworked and fatigued within the medical field can lead to unintended consequences for both nurses and patients alike. We need to make sure that both our nurses and patients are taken care of in this respect.”
As Cutrona noted, according to various studies found through the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, 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 makes it clear that 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. Further, hospitals cannot terminate employment, propose termination, take disciplinary or retaliatory action, or propose disciplinary or retaliatory action if a nurse decides not to work overtime.
“With my experience in working in the healthcare field and at an infectious disease medical practice, I’m aware of this issue and it’s even more prevalent due to the pandemic. I’m going to be working throughout this GA to not only get this bill passed in the House again, but to push it through in the Senate so we can get it signed into law to further protect our nurses and patients across the state,” Cutrona added.
The bill is currently seeking cosponsors and awaits introduction.