BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                                                                       AB 840

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          840 (Ridley-Thomas)

          As Introduced  February 26, 2015

          Majority vote

          |Committee       |Votes |Ayes                 |Noes                 |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |Public          |6-1   |Bonta, Waldron,      |Wagner               |
          |Employees       |      |Cooley,              |                     |
          |                |      |Jones-Sawyer,        |                     |
          |                |      |O'Donnell, Rendon    |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |Appropriations  |12-5  |Gomez, Bonta,        |Bigelow, Chang,      |
          |                |      |Calderon, Daly,      |Gallagher, Jones,    |
          |                |      |Eggman, Eduardo      |Wagner               |
          |                |      |Garcia, Gordon,      |                     |
          |                |      |Holden, Quirk,       |                     |
          |                |      |Rendon, Weber, Wood  |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |
          |                |      |                     |                     |

          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:  


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          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 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;


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

               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 Act, provides a  
            statutory framework for the state and its represented employees  
            to collectively bargain over issues impacting wages and working  

          FISCAL EFFECT:  According to the Assembly Appropriations  
          Committee, annual General Fund (GF) costs greater than $3 million  
          to the Department of State Hospitals (DSH) and the Department of  
          Corrections and Rehabilitation to hire additional nurses to cover  
          the hours currently worked as mandatory overtime; additional GF  
          costs likely to hire additional CNAs.

          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  


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            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.

            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  

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


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          This bill is similar to AB 2155 (Ridley-Thomas) of 2014, 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.

          There is no opposition on file.

          Analysis Prepared by:                                               
                          Karon Green / P.E.,R., & S.S. / (916) 319-3957   
          FN: 0000593