Medical practices, urgent care centers, and other healthcare facilities often employ clinical practitioners, such as physician assistants or nurse practitioners, who frequently work over 40 hours per week. Whether these employees need to be paid overtime wages is a question our clients frequently ask us in our role as employment counsel to corporate and individual healthcare providers.
Often, healthcare employers mistakenly believe that payment of overtime wages to physician assistants or nurse practitioners—also known as "professional employees"—is not required. However, the answer turns on a number of issues, and it is worth noting that an employer's obligations under federal and state law are not identical here.
An employer's overtime obligation may depend on whether a professional employee is a salaried or hourly employee. Healthcare businesses such as multi-site practices or affiliated urgent centers face additional concerns: professional employees hired to work at multiple locations can "aggregate" hours worked in certain circumstances, and qualify for overtime wages despite not working 40 hours a week at any single location. An employment agreement can be a solution here. While a private agreement cannot completely override various state and federal labor laws, a well-drafted employment contract may provide some protection to employers and ensure that employees' expectations are met without running afoul of applicable employment laws.
If you have any questions or require legal guidance with respect to overtime wages, employment issues, or any other legal question please do not hesitate to call one of our experienced healthcare attorneys at 212.668.0200 or email the firm at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our healthcare partners have years of experience as employment counsel to corporate and individual healthcare providers, including employment agreements, handbooks, and compliance programs. Additionally, we represent corporate and individual providers in a wide array of employment-related litigation, including claims for overtime wages, anti-discrimination actions, breach of employment contracts, restrictive covenants and other Labor and Employment actions.