How long can other employees be made to cover the shifts of an absent employee?

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How long can other employees be made to cover the shifts of an absent employee?

I am a nurse at a facility for people with mental disabilities. We have a nurse who is off on family leave probably until december. Our facility director and director of nursing is mandating all the other nurses to cover these shifts left open by the nurse on leave. They do not want to pay agency nurses to cover these shifts left open by the nurse on leave. These shifts are not unforseen absences. She has been off for over a month already. Can they mandate the other nurses to cover the rest of the open shifts?

Asked on October 5, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can do this, unless the other nurses have a written employment contract restricting the shifts or hours they can work. In the absence of a contract, employers can require employees to work any number of hours or shifts. Of course, if the employees are hourly, they must be paid for all hours worked, including overtime when working more than 40 hours in a week. Even if the salaried, if they are non-exempt salaried, they must be paid extra compensation for working more than 40 hours in a week however, if they are exempt salaried, they can be made to work any number of hours with no additional compensation.


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