$1.7 Million in Back Wages Paid to Nurses Who Worked Mealtimes


In a case that will likely be noted by every nurse who has ever answered a call bell on her lunch break, SSM Healthcare has paid $1.7 million to nurses who worked during their mealtimes.

The St. Louis-based healthcare organization, which owns and operates hospitals and nursing homes in Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois and Oklahoma, was the subject of an investigation by the US Department of Labor.  At issue was whether or not nurses were paid for nursing duties performed during their meal breaks.  The investigation found that many nurses carried hospital-supplied wireless phones and answered calls during break times; the organization’s recording keeping system, however, automatically deducted time for meal breaks.



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