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PROBLEMS AND ISSUES IN MANDATORY OVERTIME

PROBLEMS AND ISSUES IN MANDATORY OVERTIME
BY: ANN GRETHEL R. TAN, RN

 Mandatory overtime is one of the many workplace

issues that may be contributing to nurses leaving the workforce. Mandatory overtime is when employers require employees to work in excess of 40 hours per workweek, even if employees don't want to. Subsequently, employees often refer to it as forced mandatory overtime or simply forced overtime.

less patient comfort and mental and physical fatigue that can contribute to errors and "near-misses" with medications and case-related procedures. or other obligations. other family members. jeopardizing her nursing licensure status. Mandatory overtime may cause or lead to increased stress on the job. Being forced into excessive overtime can cause an exhausted RN to practice unsafe patient care. . The practice of mandatory overtime ignores the responsibilities nurses may have at home with children.

and nurses' legal liability. quality patient care. Impact is felt at the level of the bedside nurse in three major areas identified through current literature: medication errors. .

in the exercise of his then extant legislative powers. It was enacted on Labor day of 1974 by President Ferdinand Marcos.THE LABOR CODE OF THE PHILIPPINES  Stands as the law governing employment practices and labor relations in the Philippines. .

It prohibits termination from employment of Private employees except for just or authorized causes as prescribed in Article 282 to 284 of the Code.  The Labor Code contains several provisions which are beneficial to labor. employee benefits such as holiday pay.Features:  The Labor Code prescribes the rules for hiring and termination of private employees. thirteenth month pay and retirement pay. . and the guidelines in the organization and membership in labor unions as well as in collective bargaining. the conditions of work including maximum work hours and overtime.

The Department of Labor and Employment is mandated to protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare. working conditions (ii) medical and dental benefits (iii) occupational safety and health . as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution and in the 1974 Labor Code of the Philippines. Books III and IV of the Labor Code establish the minimum standards with regard to: (i) wages and other monetary benefits.

Only employees in the private sector are covered by the Labor Code. Coverage  All employees in all establishments and undertakings whether for profit or not are entitled to overtime pay for work rendered beyond eight (8) hours. But this does not apply to managerial employees. members of the family of the employer who are dependent on him for support. field personnel. and workers who are paid by results. Employees in the government are also entitled to overtime pay but they are governed by Civil Service laws and rules. persons in the personal service of another. domestic helpers. .ARTICLE 82.

for five (5) days a week. Normal hours of work  For health personnel in cities and municipalities with a population of at least one million (1.000.000) or in hospitals and clinics with a bed capacity of at least one hundred (100). exclusive of time for meals.ARTICLE 83. their normal hours of work are eight (8) hours a day. .

ARTICLE 84. and (b) all time during which an employee is suffered or permitted to work. Hours worked.  Hours worked shall include (a) all time during which an employee is required to be on duty or to be at a prescribed workplace. .

. Meal periods  Subject to such regulations as the Secretary of Labor may prescribe. it shall be the duty of every employer to give his employees not less than sixty (60) minutes time-off for their regular meals.ARTICLE 85.

. Night shift differential  Every employee shall be paid a night shift differential of not less than ten percent (10%) of his regular wage for each hour of work performed between ten oclock in the evening and six oclock in the morning.ARTICLE 86.

an additional compensation equivalent to his regular wage plus at least twenty-five percent (25%) thereof. . Overtime work  Work may be performed beyond eight (8) hours a day provided that the employee is paid for the overtime work. Work performed beyond eight hours on a holiday or rest day shall be paid an additional compensation equivalent to the rate of the first eight hours on a holiday or rest day plus at least thirty percent (30%) thereof.ARTICLE 87.

Can an employee be compelled to render overtime?  When an employee spends additional time for work. he puts in more physical and mental effort. he cannot compel the employee to render overtime. He is also delayed in going home and cannot spend time with family and enjoy the comforts of his home. Generally. It is but proper that he be compensated for that. the law discourages employers to require employees to work overtime. except in certain instances to wit (Article 89) . As such.

epidemic or other disaster or calamities. . Emergency overtime work  1) When the country is at war or when any other national or local emergency has been declared by the National Assembly or the Chief Executive. floods.  2) When overtime work is necessary to prevent loss of life or property. fire. earthquake. typhoons. or in case of imminent danger to public safety due to actual or impending emergency in the locality caused by serious accident.ARTICLE 89.

 3) When there is urgent work to be performed on machineries. installations. . in order to avoid serious loss or damage to the employer  4) When the work is necessary to prevent loss or damage to perishable goods. or equipment.

 5) When the completion or continuation of work started before the 8th hour is necessary to prevent serious obstruction or prejudice to the business or operations of the employer.  6) When overtime work is necessary to avail of favorable weather or environmental conditions where performance or quality of work is dependent thereon. .

If the employee who is required to work overtime is a professional. such as a nurse. she may be required to work overtime after considering:  The opportunity to consult supervision  The availability of relief from the oncoming shift  Possible risk to the patient .

.Can an employee insist on working overtime?  The employee cannot compel his employer to allow him to work overtime when the circumstances does not require him to do so as when there is actually no work to be performed.

he will be paid only for the corresponding number of hours he had actually worked. Under time not offset by overtime  Under time work on any particular day shall not be offset by overtime work on any other day.ARTICLE 88. If on another day he works beyond the maximum hours. The reason behind this is fairness. . If the employee works for less than eight hours. he should be given additional compensation.

 Non-payment of overtime pay is not only illegal but also contrary to public policy. Although these methods are not provided by law. he may either deduct the under time from the wage of the employee. The employer cannot use the overtime to offset the under time because payment of overtime pay is mandatory. However. or through other approaches. these may be found in company policies or established by company practices. .

and. Failure to work required overtime may lead to discharge.Employees' Refusal of Overtime  Management has the right to determine whether overtime is necessary. employees may be asked to work a reasonable amount of overtime. in the absence of contract language to the contrary. .

. employees cannot be discharged for refusing to work overtime. however. A temporarily disabled employee cannot be discharged for refusing to work overtime if the employer did not make a reasonable accommodation of the employee's disability. Sometimes. For instance. an employee cannot be required to work an unreasonable amount of overtime.

Rotate the overtime so that the same employees do not have to work extra hours every week. 4. Transfer employees temporarily to the understaffed area. . Solicit volunteers for overtime. 3. 2. Bring in part-time or temporary employees.Alternatives to Overtime: 1.

make sure to explain the policy to your employees. This way. . if you do have to institute a mandatory overtime requirement. even if they do not want the extra time. In particular. give affected employees as much advance notice as possible prior to the scheduled overtime. at least they will be able to plan for it.Give Plenty of Notice  As a final point. update handbooks and job descriptions to cover the possibility of overtime. In addition.

 The mandatory overtime dilemma like so many in nursing. availability of resources and safety states:  Mandatory overtime is a lightning rod issue for both nurses and hospital administrators. nurses contend that they get so tired from working extra that they make potentially dangerous mistakes. comes down to a conflict between costs. Worried that there wont be enough nurses on the floor to care for all the patients. . On the flip side. administrators feel they must compel nurses to stay late and work an extra shift.