Labor Committee Public Hearing

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Event date: 
Tuesday, March 8, 2022 (All day)
Online via Zoom starting at 9AM
United States
Contact name: 
Sherri Dayton
Contact email: 
Contact phone: 

House Bill Number 5357 "An Act Concerning Overtime for Nurses in Hospitals" is an AFTCT priority bill for healthcare workers. We need a big turnout of our members to testify as well as submit written testimony.This is our chance to tell ellected officials how detrimental mandation is to the nursing profession. We need your stories about what is happening in hospitals around mandatory overtime!! Please contact Sherri Dayton for more details. 

Click here for talking points around safe patient limits and mandatory overtime.

Click here for an example of a written testimony.

HB 5357 An Act Concerning Overtime for Nurses in Hospitals

Mandatory overtime is the practice by which Hospitals require – often with little to no notice – nurses to work beyond their scheduled shift.  Many states have expanded mandatory overtime to also include working more than a set number of hours in a day or week. Mandatory overtime for nurses is extremely unsafe for patients and staff. Moreover, it leads to unpredictable schedules and burnout, which in turn, exacerbates the nursing shortage. At least 18 states have restricted the use of mandatory overtime. Of those states, Connecticut has one of the weakest laws and it has failed to adequately protect nurses.

Primary Objectives of Legislation

Expand definition of mandatory overtime:

  • Current CT law only prohibits mandatory hours beyond a predetermined schedule; it does not regulate how many hours a nurse can be forced to work. Most states with mandatory overtime laws limit hours in a day and/or week a nurse can work.
  • Reducing work hours is important for patient and staff safety. Excessive hours and overtime increase the chances a nurse is injured. There is also a positive association between long hours and adverse patient outcomes and mortality. Studies show that laws regulating consecutive hours worked are a more effective regulatory tool for reducing work hours.[1]
  • This legislation limits the number of hours a nurse can be forced to work in a day (12 hours) and a week (48 hours), and ensures nurses get adequate rest time between shifts.

Make law enforceable and institute reporting requirements:

  • The current law is unenforceable. It is not clear which agency, if any, enforces the law. Without a way to enforce the law, most nurses will not exercise their right. This legislation allows nurses to enforce the law in state court, which serves as a deterrent to hospitals violating the law.
  • The legislation also requires Hospitals to report each instance of mandatory overtime to the Department of Public Health so that Connecticut can better track how often mandatory overtime is being used.

Remove Collective Bargaining Exception:

  • The law lists several exceptions when mandatory overtime is permitted. One of those exceptions permits mandatory overtime if covered by a collective bargaining agreement “that contains provisions addressing the issue of mandatory overtime.”
  •  In practice, this means some hospitals will refuse to settle a contract without the right to impose mandatory overtime. Those hospitals will then use mandatory overtime on a regular basis. This has been used to discourage employees from forming a union.
  • Connecticut should afford union nurses the same right to refuse overtime that nonunion nurses have.

Expand coverage to home health nurses:

  • The current law excludes home health nurses. Home Health Nurses deserve the same protections against dangerously long hours as hospital nurses.  

Summary of Bill

Section 1.a.3: Defines overtime to include working i) in excess of a predetermined scheduled shift (current law), (ii) more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period, (iii) during the 10-hour period immediately following the end of the previous shift of 8 hours or more, or (iv) more than 48 hours in any hospital-defined work week.

Section 1.b: Prohibits requiring a nurse to work overtime except in emergency situations defined in subsection d. Makes it unlawful to discriminate, discharge, discipline, threaten to discipline or discharge, or otherwise retaliate against a nurse for refusing to work overtime.

Section 1.c: Clarifies that nurses can agree to work overtime (current law), but may not work more than 16 consecutive hours without at least a ten hour break. The 16-hour limitation is already a practice in most Hospitals in Connecticut.

Section 1.d: Sets forth the emergency situations in which mandatory overtime is permissible. This is the same as the current law except: (1) removes exception for when mandatory overtime is permitted by collective bargaining agreements, and (2) adds the additional requirement that it is only when patient safety requires mandatory overtime and there is no reasonable alternative.

Section 1.e: Prevents abuse of mandatory overtime by requiring Hospitals to seek volunteers before utilizing mandatory overtime, and by prohibiting hospitals from using mandatory overtime as a regular practice for providing appropriate staffing or in any situation that is the result of routine staffing needs.

Section 1.f: Requires Hospitals to report to the Department of Public Health and the Hospital’s staffing committee details for all instances of mandatory overtime.  

Section 1.g: Permits nurses to file a private civil action if the Hospital violates this law and sets forth remedies the appropriate remedies.

Section 1.h: Describes the impact of collective bargaining agreements.

            Section 1.h.1 Permits mandatory overtime if permitted by a collective bargaining agreement currently in effect until the agreement expires. This is to prevent legal challenges to the law. Once the agreement expires (and any new agreement) cannot permit mandatory overtime beyond what is permitted under this statute.

            Section 1.h.2 Clarifies that collective bargaining agreements can place additional restrictions or limitations on the use of mandatory overtime.

            Section 1.h.3 Permits mandatory overtime for nurses if permitted by a collective bargaining agreement for nurses who are state employees. However, the mandatory overtime will be a permissive subject of bargaining. This means that the parties can agree to negotiate it but are not required to.