BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     AB 840


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          Date of Hearing:   April 22, 2015


           ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC EMPLOYEES, RETIREMENT, AND SOCIAL  
                                      SECURITY


                                  Rob Bonta, Chair


          AB 840  
          (Ridley-Thomas) - As Introduced February 26, 2015


          SUBJECT:  Nurses and certified nurse assistants:  overtime


          SUMMARY:  Prohibits, beginning January 1, 2017, mandatory  
          overtime for registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses  
          (LVNs), or certified nursing assistants (CNAs) who are employed  
          in state hospitals and facilities.  Specifically, this bill:  





          1)Defines a "nurse" as all classifications of registered nurses  
            represented by State Bargaining Unit (BU) 17, or the LVN  
            classifications represented by BU 20.



          2)Defines a "certified nursing assistant" as all CNA  
            classifications represented by BU 20.



          3)Defines a "facility" as a facility providing clinically  
            related health services that is operated by specified state  








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            departments in which a nurse or CNA works as an employee of  
            the state.



          4)Defines "emergency situation" as an unforeseeable declared  
            national, state, or municipal emergency or a highly unusual  
            event that is unpredictable or unavoidable that affects the  
            health care services, as specified.



          5)Prohibits a facility from requiring a nurse or CNA to work in  
            excess of a regularly scheduled workweek or work shift, except  
            as provided.



          6)Authorizes a nurse or CNA to volunteer to work extra hours,  
            but the refusal by a nurse or CNA to work such hours shall not  
            be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge or other  
            penalty or patient abandonment or neglect, as specified.



          7)Provides that the overtime prohibition does not apply in the  
            following situations:



             a)   To any nurse or CNA participating in a surgical  
               procedure, as specified;



             b)   If a catastrophic event occurs in a facility where both  
               of the following apply:










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               i)     The catastrophic event results in such a large  
                 number of patients in need of immediate medical treatment  
                 that the facility is incapable of providing sufficient  
                 nurses or CNAs to attend to the patients without  
                 resorting to mandatory overtime; and,



               ii)    The catastrophic event is an unanticipated and  
                 nonrecurring event.



             c)   If an emergency situation occurs.

          8)Specifies that nothing in these provisions shall be construed  
            to do any of the following:

             a)   Affect the Nursing Practice Act, the Vocational Nursing  
               Practice Act, or a registered nurse's duty under the  
               standards of competent performance.

             b)   Prevent the hiring of part-time or intermittent  
               employees.



             c)   Prevent a facility from providing more protections  
               against mandatory overtime than the minimum protections  
               established by this bill.



          EXISTING LAW:  












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          1)Establishes, as the general policy of the state, the workweek  
            of state employees to be 40 hours, and the workday of state  
            employees eight hours, except that workweeks and workdays of a  
            different number of hours may be established in order to meet  
            the varying needs of the different state agencies.



          2)States that it is the policy of the state to avoid the  
            necessity for overtime work whenever possible. This policy  
            does not restrict the extension of regular working-hour  
            schedules on an overtime basis in those activities and  
            agencies where it is necessary to carry on the state business  
            properly during a manpower shortage. 

          3)Under the provisions of the Ralph C. Dills Acts, provides a  
            statutory framework for the State and its represented  
            employees to collectively bargain over issues impacting wages  
            and working conditions.


          


          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.
          COMMENTS:  According to the author, "Mandatory overtime is the  
          practice of hospitals and health care institutions to maintain  
          adequate numbers of staff nurses through forced overtime,  
          usually with a total of 12 to 16 hours worked, and with as  
          little as one hour's notice.  This bill seeks to ban mandatory  
          overtime for public sector RNs, LVNs, and CNAs.  The use of  
          mandatory overtime for nurses in the private sector has been  
          banned since 2001 through wage orders from the Industrial  
          Welfare Commission.  State and public sector nurses were  
          exempted from this order."











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





          According to information provided by the author, the states of  
          West Virginia, Illinois, Connecticut, Washington, Oregon, New  
          Jersey, Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, Alaska and Massachusetts all  
          have laws prohibiting the use of mandatory overtime as a general  
          staffing tool.





          The author concludes, "The continued practice of mandatory  
          overtime in California places the state in the position of  
          undoing its hard work in the training, recruitment and retention  
          of public sector nurses by fostering a dangerous work  
          environment.  Additionally, the use of mandatory overtime as a  
          scheduling tool creates no incentive for the state to properly  
          hire, schedule or retain staff.  Lastly, this policy opens up  
          the state to costly lawsuits due to inadequate care and/or  
          medical errors due to fatigue."



          Supporters state, "AB 840 is a good governance bill that  








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          encourages a strong civil service system by streamlining the  
          mandatory overtime requirements for all nurses in California,  
          resulting in major cost savings for the state; and increased  
          staff, patient and public safety."



          This bill is similar to AB 2155 (Ridley-Thomas) from last year  
          which was vetoed by the Governor.  In his veto message, the  
          Governor stated, in part, "This bill would prohibit mandatory  
          overtime for nurses in state facilities.  This measure covers  
          matters more appropriately settled through the collective  
          bargaining process."





          In 2005, a similar effort to ban mandatory overtime was proposed  
          in AB 1184 (Koretz) and vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger  
          because the state was already having a difficult time recruiting  
          and training nurses for state hospitals.





          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:




          Support


          Service Employees International Union, Local 1000 (Sponsor)


          California Association of Psychiatric Technicians








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          California Employment Lawyers Association


          California State Council of the Service Employees International  
          Union




          Opposition


          None on file




          Analysis Prepared by:Karon Green / P.E.,R., & S.S. / (916)  
          319-3957