SPECIAL OVERTIME RULE IS RELEVANT IN TIMES OF CRISIS

Medical

The terrorist attack at a nightclub in Orlando, Fla., on June 12 was the largest mass shooting in U.S. history, and my prayers forever shall be with the victims of the tragedy and their families.

The courageous medical personnel at Orlando Regional Medical Center and other hospitals deftly responded to the shooting and helped save many who were wounded. While the medical personnel in this tragic situation and in other dire times focused on saving lives, payroll professionals working with hospitals must ensure that the medical professionals are properly paid, especially out of respect for their dedication to lifesaving.

Among the wage and hour procedures of which payroll professionals working with hospitals must be aware is the 8/80 rule, an optional method for computing overtime compensation. Residential care facilities also have the option of using this rule, and employers have the choice of covering all employees under the rule, or merely selected employees. Employees must consent to use of the 8/80 rule for it to be used when calculating their overtime compensation, and use of the rule must either be for a long period of time or permanent.

Under the 8/80 rule, overtime premiums for employees not exempt from Fair Labor Standards Act overtime protections are not automatically granted for hours worked beyond the 40th hour in a week.

Instead, every two weeks, two tallies are tracked under the 8/80 rule: the total number of hours worked beyond the eighth hour on any day during those two weeks and the total number of hours worked beyond the 80th hour. Overtime premiums of half the regular rate of pay for the biweekly pay period become owed for whichever tally of hours is higher.

In times of crisis, the number of hours that medical professionals not exempt from FLSA overtime provisions work during a day could exceed the number of hours that they expected to work and the 8/80 rule could further reward them for their vital work.

For example, if during one week a nurse is scheduled to work on three consecutive days at 12 hours a day, which is a common work arrangement for nurses, according to Rasmussen College, the nurse would not accrue overtime premiums under the standard method (12 + 12 + 12 = 36, which is less than 40), but would accrue 12 hours of overtime under the 8/80 rule because for each of the three days, four hours were worked beyond the eighth hour.

If a crisis arises and a nurse needs to work an additional four hours on one of those days, the nurse still would not accrue overtime premiums under the standard method because there were no hours worked during the week beyond the 40th hour (16 + 12 + 12 = 40), but under the 8/80 rule would accrue overtime premiums for the additional four hours, plus all other hours worked each day beyond the eighth hour.

However, it also is possible for overtime to not be owed under the 8/80 rule when it would have been owed under standard conditions.

For example, if an employee works three eight-hour days in Week 1 and seven eight-hour days in Week 2, no overtime premiums would be owed under the 8/80 rule because no hours were worked in excess of eight hours in a day and the total number of hours worked over the two weeks was 80 (24 hours in Week 1 + 56 hours in Week 2 = 80 total hours). However, under standard conditions, no overtime premiums would have been owed for Week 1 but for Week 2, in which there were 56 hours worked, overtime premiums would have been owed for the 16 hours worked past the 40th hour.

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