Hours of health care facility employees — Definitions.
The definitions in this section apply throughout this section and RCW 49.28.140 and 49.28.150 unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Employee" means a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW employed by a health care facility who is involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services and receives an hourly wage.
(2) "Employer" means an individual, partnership, association, corporation, the state, a political subdivision of the state, or person or group of persons, acting directly or indirectly in the interest of a health care facility.
(3)(a) "Health care facility" means the following facilities, or any part of the facility, including such facilities if owned and operated by a political subdivision or instrumentality of the state, that operate on a twenty-four hours per day, seven days per week basis:
(i) Hospices licensed under chapter 70.127 RCW;
(ii) Hospitals licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW;
(iii) Rural health care facilities as defined in RCW 70.175.020;
(iv) Psychiatric hospitals licensed under chapter 71.12 RCW; or
(v) Facilities owned and operated by the department of corrections or by a governing unit as defined in RCW 70.48.020 in a correctional institution as defined in RCW 9.94.049 that provide health care services to inmates as defined in RCW 72.09.015.
(b) If a nursing home regulated under chapter 18.51 RCW or a home health agency regulated under chapter 70.127 RCW is operating under the license of a health care facility, the nursing home or home health agency is considered part of the health care facility for the purposes of this subsection.
(4) "Overtime" means the hours worked in excess of an agreed upon, predetermined, regularly scheduled shift within a twenty-four hour period not to exceed twelve hours in a twenty-four hour period or eighty hours in a consecutive fourteen-day period.
(5) "On-call time" means time spent by an employee who is not working on the premises of the place of employment but who is compensated for availability or who, as a condition of employment, has agreed to be available to return to the premises of the place of employment on short notice if the need arises.
(6) "Reasonable efforts" means that the employer, to the extent reasonably possible, does all of the following but is unable to obtain staffing coverage:
(a) Seeks individuals to volunteer to work extra time from all available qualified staff who are working;
(b) Contacts qualified employees who have made themselves available to work extra time;
(c) Seeks the use of per diem staff; and
(d) Seeks personnel from a contracted temporary agency when such staffing is permitted by law or an applicable collective bargaining agreement, and when the employer regularly uses a contracted temporary agency.
(7) "Unforeseeable emergent circumstance" means (a) any unforeseen declared national, state, or municipal emergency; (b) when a health care facility disaster plan is activated; or (c) any unforeseen disaster or other catastrophic event which substantially affects or increases the need for health care services.
[2011 c 251 § 1; 2002 c 112 § 2.]
| Finding -- 2002 c 112: "Washington state is experiencing a critical shortage of qualified, competent health care workers. To safeguard the health, efficiency, and general well-being of health care workers and promote patient safety and quality of care, the legislature finds, as a matter of public policy, that required overtime work should be limited with reasonable safeguards in order to ensure that the public will continue to receive safe, quality care." [2002 c 112 § 1.]|