As discussed here, Pennsylvania’s legislature recently amended its state wage payment law to conform to the FLSA’s so called “8/80” rule for hospitals and other healthcare entities, which permits payment of an overtime premium on a bi-weekly or 80-hour basis provided that such premium is also paid for hours worked in excess of eight in a day. See 29 U.S.C. § 203(j). However, the window of liability created by the previous distinction between state and federal law has not closed, as exemplified by a new Court of Common Pleas decision. Leclair v. Diakon Lutheran Soc. Ministries, 2013 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS 1 (Pa. C.P. 2013).
Leclair joins the pre-legislation holding of a sister court in Turner v. Mercy Health Sys., 2010 Phila. Ct. Com. Pl. LEXIS 146 (Pa. C.P. 2010) in holding that, prior to the enactment of House Bill 1820 amending the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act (PMWA) to conform to the FLSA in this regard, biweekly averaging of overtime hours in a hospital violated the “express language” of the pre-amendment PMWA and its “clear and unambiguous mandate that employees receive overtime premium pay whenever they work in excess of 40 hours during a seven-day workweek.”
While Pennsylvania health care employers are likely gratified by the legislature’s effectiveness in correcting the harsh rule applied in Turner, liability under state laws remains a key concern of employers in heavily-regulated states such as Pennsylvania.