Pennsylvania Legislature Adopts FLSA 8/80 Rule

Posted on July 12, 2012

Pennsylvania hospitals and medical care providers now have options for computing overtime.

The Pennsylvania legislature recently amended the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (“PMWA”) to explicitly make the “8/80” method of overtime calculation available to medical care providers. Generally, the PMWA requires employers to calculate overtime based on hours worked over 40 hours in the employee’s “workweek”, or “seven consecutive days starting on any day selected by the employer.” The Fair Labor Standards Act offers the 8/80 method, which allows employers that qualify as medical care providers to pay their employees overtime for actual time worked in excess of 8 hours per day, or in excess of 80 hours every two weeks, whichever is better for the employee. Employees must agree to the overtime method before its implementation. Before the legislature’s recent amendment to the PMWA, the PMWA’s more stringent workweek requirement controlled for Pennsylvania state employers, and the FLSA exemption was not available. The amendment allows qualified Pennsylvania employers to take advantage of the 8/80 exemption effective immediately.

The 8/80 method is not available to all employers. Only medical care providers, like hospitals, nursing homes, and residential medical institutions, can take advantage of this structure.

Prior to 2010, many Pennsylvania medical employers had utilized the 8/80 rule, even though thePMWA’s workweek requirement was the correct method. However, a 2010 Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas case, Turner v. Mercy Health System, held that the 8/80 rule was invalid under thePMWA because the law did not expressly allow for overtime to be calculated under that method. You can read more about Turner here. It appears that the legislature amended the PMWA in direct response to that case, adopting an 8/80 rule that is consistent with the existing FLSA approach and eliminating confusion for Pennsylvania employers.

If you would like help determining whether the 8/80 method is available for your business or reviewing and modifying your overtime policies, please contact Julia M. Herzing or another Knox Labor and Employment attorney at (814) 459-2800.

Julia M. Herzing is an Associate at Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C.’s Erie office.

Carsen N. Ruperto is an Associate at Knox McLaughlin Gornall & Sennett, P.C.’s Erie office.

Labor & Employment Department Attorneys

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