How healthcare workers will be affected by new overtime pay rules

The Department of Labor last week updated the federal overtime pay rule, impacting millions of workers, including healthcare workers and medical researchers.

The new rule doubled the salary threshold after which workers are entitled to overtime pay from $23,660 to $47,476. This means any worker who earns a salary of less than $47,476 is eligible to earn time and a half pay when they work more than 40 hours per week. The rule will impact 4.2 million workers across the country, according to the Department of Labor.

The rule goes into effect December 1, 2016, and nonprofits like hospitals are not exempt from it. In the healthcare industry, it will likely affect lower salaried jobs such as nurses or medical assistants. However, the new rule is making the biggest waves in the healthcare industry at research institutions, where many are concerned with how the law will impact postdoctoral researchers.

Some individuals worry the new rule — which could limit the number of postdoctoral research positions available as well as make research more expensive — could limit the country's ability to conduct research efficiently.

However, Francis Collins, MD, PhD, director of the NIH, and Thomas Perez, U.S. Secretary of Labor, wrote in The Huffington Post that they are supportive of increased salary thresholds for researchers because it will "encourage more of our brightest young minds to consider choosing careers in science." In their blog, Dr. Collins and Mr. Perez write that biomedical science is difficult to quantify in hours and shifts, and they believe the best option is to increase postdoctoral research salaries above the threshold.

The NIH will increase awards to postdoctoral research award recipients, and research institutions will also need to adjust salaries. "While supporting the increased salaries will no doubt present financial challenges to NIH and the rest of the U.S. biomedical research enterprise, we plan to work closely with leaders in the postdoc and research communities to find creative solutions to ensure a smooth transition," Dr. Collins and Mr. Perez wrote.

 

More articles on compensation:

UPMC CEO's compensation dips slightly, still tops $6.4M
Female CEOs in the 100 largest companies out-earned their peers in 2015
Surgeons in Ozarks have best-paid position in US

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