Should You Negotiate For Overtime Pay? Here's How.

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Some nurses want overtime, and some are done the minute their shift ends. If you’re one of the nurses who want to work extra hours, you should be paid for those hours. Overtime isn’t simply the 1.5 times your taxable rate. Although this is the standard in the permanent staffing world, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that amount; it could be more or less. If you are a travel nurse or working on a contract level, you can negotiate the rate you need, within the constraints of the agency agreement.

Don’t let the art of negotiation hold you back.

When you approach the situation with knowledge, armed with numbers and information, you will feel more confident, and that will translate to standing up for yourself. It might be awkward to negotiate for the overtime hours, so here are some tools to use:

  • Determine the effective taxable wage. Once you figure out what your hourly rate is, you can then determine your overtime pay rate.

  • Determine the secondary rate. This should be based off the effective tax rate. 

  • Time to negotiate. It is unlikely you will get time and a half per hour as the OT rate, but you should start high – something along the lines of triple your hourly rate. The company will probably not pay that much, but it’s a good starting point.

  • Stand your ground with reasonable expectations. OT is a chance for you to make more money as well as provide the company a highly effective nurse. If you can’t get a good OT rate, you should not work the extra hours.

Any hours you work over the contracted amount are simply a benefit (and increased revenue) for the travel nurse agency. Most companies will offer you time and half of your base rate (minus any tax-free amounts) for overtime. Always try to negotiate for a higher overtime rate, and if the agency won’t budge on this, compromise to the amount you are comfortable with.

As a nurse, your skills are in high demand and your time is a huge part of the negotiations. Working overtime can provide extra income for you as well as create an even stronger bond with the agency and/or healthcare facility where you work.

Grow your nursing career today!

At Nurse Backpack, we believe anything that simplifies your nursing career is a good thing. That’s why we developed the innovative software behind the Nurse Backpack app. Our user-friendly app is designed to take the headache out of organizing, storing and sharing your nursing credentials.