Before reading this little article, I erroneously operated under the assumption that nurses were covered by the State and Federal laws pertaining to breaks and lunches. Obviously, I have been wrong all this time. Now, it seems, nurses need a special law to protect them and allow “rest breaks”. How quaint. I wonder why I didn’t think of this?
Since this is from the Seattle Times, I wonder if it is just nurses in Washington state that need this special dispensation? I found this information at the US Dept. of Labor website:
|Washington||½ hour, if work period is more than 5 consecutive hours, to be given not less than 2 hours nor more than 5 hours from beginning of shift. Counted as worktime if employee is required to remain on duty on premises or at a prescribed worksite. Additional ½ hour, before or during overtime, for employees working 3 or more hours beyond regular workday.||Administrative regulation||Excludes newspaper vendor or carrier, domestic or casual labor around private residence, sheltered workshop, and agricultural labor. 2/
Rules for construction trade employees may be superseded by a collective bargaining agreement covering such employees if the terms of the agreement specifically require meal periods and prescribe requirements concerning them.
|Director of Labor and Industries may grant variance for good cause, upon employer application.|
|Washington||Paid 10-minute rest period for each 4-hour work period, scheduled as near as possible to midpoint of each work period. Employee may not be required to work more than 3 hours without a rest period.||Administrative regulation||Excludes newspaper vendor or carrier, domestic or casual labor around private residence, sheltered workshop, and agricultural labor. 3/
Rules for construction trade employees may be superseded by a collective bargaining agreement covering such employees if the terms of the agreement specifically require rest periods and prescribe requirements concerning them.
|Scheduled rest periods not required where nature of work allows employee to take intermittent rest periods equivalent to required standard.
Director of Labor and Industries may grant variance from basic standard for good cause, upon employer application.
The state House has endorsed mandatory meal and rest breaks for hospital nurses.
The bill would require uninterrupted half-hour meal breaks and 10-minute rest breaks for every four hours worked.
There would be exceptions in emergencies, and in times when nurses with specific skills are needed to prevent harm to patients.
Supporters say the change is needed to make sure that overworked nurses are giving patients the best care possible. Opponents argue that nurses and hospitals should bargain for rest breaks, rather than have the state impose a mandate.
The bill was approved on a 63-34 vote and now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
The nurse rest bill is House Bill 3024.