CNAs Deserve Overtime
Certified Nursing Assistants play an integral role in the everyday function of the healthcare industry. From taking vitals to transporting patients to just seeing to their day to day care, CNAs arguably have the most customer-facing position in a hospital or any other health care setting. CNAs can be found in almost every health-related workplace across the US and Canada. Many CNAs begin their careers at skilled nursing facilities. Often, that’s a stepping stone to being a home health aide or working in a hospital. Assisted living facilities and nursing homes are also likely locations. In fact, nursing homes are required by federal law to hire CNAs. Like doctors and nurses, they are expected to put in long hours to see to patient care. However, in many facilities, CNAs are not being cared for in return.
Wage violations continue to be an ongoing problem, particularly in the healthcare industry. The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act mandates overtime pay for most American workers who have exceeded 40 hours in a single work week.
Here are some of the most common wage violations being made in healthcare. Look out for these practices, and see if this is a way your own income is being impacted:
- 1.Working through breaks without pay.
By far the most common wage violation in healthcare, affecting all tiers of nurses and healthcare employees. It may seem innocuous enough - the patient needed you, so you cut your lunch short. These things happen, right? And they do. However, the problem is that it is not being properly documented. Many hospitals and health care facilities automatically deduct break times from the time sheets. This practice in itself is not a problem, but if you’re working through your breaks or taking short breaks for patient care, that needs to be reflected in the time sheets.
Actually the Employer is responsible to make sure that their employees are taking breaks.
- 2.Working “off the clock” before or after a shift.
Any time you are performing work for the benefit of your employer, even if your shift does not start for another 10 minutes or ended 5 minutes ago, it should be recorded towards your hours. In many jobs, not just nursing, there are usually some preliminary tasks that need to be completed before your can properly start your shift. However, that is still work, and you still need to be paid for that time and effort.
The same can be said of any tasks or wrap up that needs to be completed at the end of your shift. It may be the end of your day, but you are still working, and deserve compensation for that work.
- 3.Failing to keep up with new Labor Department policies
Our nation’s sense of what is fair and right for employees continues to evolve. From the banning of child labor to working towards equal pay, it is clear policies continue to change. Sometimes, however, employers do not keep up with these changes.
Focusing on CNAs, a lot of the responsibilities of a CNA, particular in a home care setting, fall into the category of “companionship services” - feeding, bathing, dressing, and so on. As of January 1, 2015, workers who perform companionship services in private homes are no longer exempt from overtime.
It is vitally important that those professionals in the healthcare industry who see to the needs and, indeed, survival of so many others are in turn cared for and given their due. You work hard, and work long hours, and should get everything that is coming to you.