News & Events

Regionally Speaking Newsletter of MNA Region 5: Fall 2012

Mandatory Overtime Law

A Law to Ban the Dangerous Practice of Mandatory Overtime Goes Into Effect on November 5, 2012

Download Full PDF Version of Newsletter

On August 6, Governor Deval Patrick signed into law a health care payment reform bill that includes a ban on mandatory overtime proposed by the MNA/NNU. The law will go into effect and all hospitals will be required to comply with the measure on November 5, 2012. To assist nurses in understanding this new law and its implications, the MNA has created this web page to provide background on the issue, as well as a mechanism for nurses to report violations of the law.

This is a major victory for the MNA/NNU, all nurses in Massachusetts and most importantly, for our patients.

  • The law prohibits mandatory overtime, which is defined as “any hours worked by a nurse in a hospital setting to deliver patient care beyond the predetermined and regularly scheduled number of hours that the hospital and nurse have agreed that the employee shall work, provided that in no case shall such predetermined and regularly scheduled number of hours exceed 12 hours in any given 24 hour period.”
  • The law prohibits nurses from working mandatory overtime except in the case of “an emergency situation where the safety of the patient requires its use and when there is no reasonable alternative”.
  • “Emergency situation” will be defined by a newly established health policy commission that will conduct a public hearing and consult nurses to determine what constitutes an emergency situation.
  • The law requires that hospitals report all instances of mandatory overtime to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and that these reports be made available to the public.
  • The law protects nurses by prohibiting any discrimination, dismissal, discharge or any other employment decision based on a nurses’ refusal to accept work in excess of the limitations on mandatory overtime.
  • The law prohibits mandatory overtime being used as an alternative to providing appropriate staffing for the level of patient care required.

For more information on this topic and a link to an online form to report violations, go to:

Download Full PDF Version of Newsletter