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Cutrona to introduce legislation prohibiting mandatory overtime for nurses

Hospitals would not be able to terminate employment, propose termination, or take or propose disciplinary or retaliatory action if a nurse decides not to work overtime.
Al Cutrona 06092020
State Rep. Al Cutrona (Photo courtesy of ohiohouse.gov)

COLUMBUS — State Rep. Al Cutrona, R-Canfield, will soon introduce 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 former 59th Ohio House District state Rep. Don Manning, who died March 20, 2020.

“I’m proud to carry on the work of the late and great Don Manning,” Cutrona said in a news release. “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.”

Nurses would still be able to voluntarily work overtime, and hospitals could still offer overtime, but the legislation would prohibit a hospital from requiring a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse to work in excess of an agreed upon, predetermined full- or part-time schedule as a condition of continued employment. Hospitals also would not be able to 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 health care 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 [General Assembly] 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 said. 

The bill is currently seeking cosponsors and awaits introduction.