49.12.471  <<  49.12.480 >>   49.12.902

Meal and rest breaks for health care facility employees.

(1) An employer shall provide employees with meal and rest periods as required by law, subject to the following:
(a) Rest periods must be scheduled at any point during each work period during which the employee is required to receive a rest period;
(b) Employers must provide employees with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks. This subsection (1)(b) does not apply in the case of:
(i) An unforeseeable emergent circumstance, as defined in RCW 49.28.130; or
(ii) A clinical circumstance, as determined by the employee, employer, or employer's designee, that may lead to a significant adverse effect on the patient's condition:
(A) Without the knowledge, specific skill, or ability of the employee on break; or
(B) Due to an unforeseen or unavoidable event relating to patient care delivery requiring immediate action that could not be planned for by an employer;
(c) For any rest break that is interrupted before ten complete minutes by an employer or employer's designee under the provisions of (b)(ii) of this subsection, the employee must be given an additional ten minute uninterrupted rest break at the earliest reasonable time during the work period during which the employee is required to receive a rest period. If the elements of this subsection are met, a rest break shall be considered taken for the purposes of the minimum wage act as defined by chapter 49.46 RCW.
(2) The employer shall provide a mechanism to record when an employee misses a meal or rest period and maintain these records.
(3) For purposes of this section, the following terms have the following meanings:
(a) "Employee" means a person who:
(i) Is employed by a health care facility;
(ii) Is involved in direct patient care activities or clinical services;
(iii) Receives an hourly wage or is covered by a collective bargaining agreement; and
(iv) Is a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse licensed under chapter 18.79 RCW, a surgical technologist registered under chapter 18.215 RCW, a diagnostic radiologic technologist or cardiovascular invasive specialist certified under chapter 18.84 RCW, a respiratory care practitioner licensed under chapter 18.89 RCW, or a nursing assistant-certified as defined in RCW 18.88A.020.
(b) "Employer" means hospitals licensed under chapter 70.41 RCW, except that the following hospitals are excluded until July 1, 2021:
(i) Hospitals certified as critical access hospitals under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1395i-4;
(ii) Hospitals with fewer than twenty-five acute care beds in operation; and
(iii) Hospitals certified by the centers for medicare and medicaid services as sole community hospitals as of January 1, 2013, that: Have had less than one hundred fifty acute care licensed beds in fiscal year 2011; have a level III adult trauma service designation from the department of health as of January 1, 2014; and are owned and operated by the state or a political subdivision.


Effective date2019 c 296: "This act takes effect January 1, 2020." [ 2019 c 296 § 4.]
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