If you are a therapist that works at a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), you likely have a productivity requirement. Usually that means that a certain percentage of your time “on the clock” has to be spent providing hands-on care to patients. For example, if you are on the clock for 8 hours and have a 90% productivity requirement, that means your goal is to work with patients for 7 hours and 12 minutes with only 48 minutes left for everything else. This kind of expectation is simply impossible to meet. Between charting, meetings, locating patients, consulting with patients’ families, and all of the other duties and responsibilities therapists have, it is completely unrealistic to expect adherence to such high productivity requirements.
While there is nothing wrong with expecting employees to be productive, facilities that pressure therapists to meet unattainable productivity requirements are often violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Many therapists feel that if they don’t meet the productivity requirements set by their employers, they will be disciplined, assigned fewer cases, or possibly lose their job. This results in therapists working off the clock. We’ve spoken with therapists who overreport their meal breaks, clock out early but remain at the facility to finish their work, or take paperwork home to finish before the next day. All of these practices can potentially violate the FLSA.
The FLSA requires employers to keep track of the time their employees’ spend working and to pay them an overtime premium whenever that work exceeds 40 hours in a workweek. Skilled Nursing Facilities with impossible productivity requirements that results in off the clock work are very likely liable under the FLSA. Employers claiming that they “didn’t know” its therapists were working off the clock is a poor defense to an FLSA lawsuit. First, it’s probably untrue. Second, courts tend to treat those types of defenses with a high degree of skepticism
If sued under the FLSA, these employers may have to pay their workers two times their employees’ lost wages. For therapists, this can result in significant recoveries. For example, a therapists who makes $40 per hour but works off the clock 10 hours per week, can make a damages claim for $62,400 for every year of employment.
If you are a therapist working off the clock due to impossible productivity requirements, send us a message or give us a call. Email our partner, Jerry Martin, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will gladly answer your questions on a confidential basis.
While our office is located in Nashville, Tennessee, we handle cases all across the country. We represent health care workers in wage and overtime claims and whistleblower claims for fraudulently billing Medicare and Medicaid programs.