SB1000 Establishing Fair Scheduling Practices for Employees in the Commonwealth

Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development

The Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), on behalf of our member hospitals, health systems, physician organizations and allied health care providers, appreciates the opportunity to submit comments in opposition to SB1000, “An Act Establishing Fair Scheduling Practices for Employees in the Commonwealth.”

MHA and our member hospitals are strongly concerned with and opposed to SB1000 as the bill sets forth general provisions for any employer who hires staff to be on-call for coverage but is not actually called to provide work-related services. SB1000 requires the employer to pay all on-call employees the same average hourly wage as though they were actually working in the facility or during the normal work time of the entity. MHA is strongly opposed to this proposal as it would adversely impact the financial ability of hospitals and other care providers to have available staff when needed if there is a surge in admissions or patient care for any given reasons including emergencies in the local community. Hospitals, in particular, must base staffing on the projected number of patients that will be receiving care within a facility on any given day. At times, unexpected surges may occur. As such, hospitals pay a small rate to certain staff to be readily available or “on-call” for those situations as outlined above. The mandate set forth by this bill clearly should not be applicable to a hospital setting. Labor costs represent approximately 71 percent of hospital budgets. Paying a full hourly wage to “on-call” employees who are not utilized will exponentially increase the cost of care without offering any benefit to patients. We urge the committee to reject this legislation or, in the alternative, explicitly exempt hospitals and healthcare providers from the mandate.

Thank you for the opportunity to offer comments on these important matters. If you have any questions or concerns or require further information, please contact Michael Sroczynski, MHA’s Vice President of Government Advocacy, at (781) 262-6055 or msroczynski@mhalink.org