Sick Pay Laws and Travel Nursing

Many people in the United States face a tough choice when they get sick on a workday. For people in hourly positions, this can be especially painful since many hourly positions don’t offer paid sick or emergency leave.

You may have heard the United States is the no-vacation nation, but the lack of paid sick days and sick pay is a major issue, especially in the health and hospitality industries. As a nurse, working while sick can potentially compromise patient health even further. So why do nurses feel they must choose between taking care of themselves or their bank accounts? Some sick pay leave laws are changing, positively impacting travel nurses.

Sick pay benefits

Even if they don’t affect nurses directly, paid sick days can make a huge difference in a community’s health. According to a 2016 study, areas that required paid sick leave decreased the rate of the general flu by 5.5%. Allowing paid sick leave may help reduce turnover — and the associated costs — by workers leaving to seek positions with better benefits or by workers being fired after a serious illness.

Working sick

Paid and unpaid days aside, a survey found 83% of health care workers came to work sick at least once in the past year, even though 95% believed working while sick risked patient health. The main reason? They didn’t want to let their teams down or leave their units understaffed.

While admirable, we need to reassess how we view sick days in health care. Supporting sick leave within your own workplace and in your state can do just that.

The state of sick leave in the United States

Thirteen states and Washington D.C. have enacted laws to require paid sick leave, upon meeting the requirements, applies to travel nurses. These states include Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. However, state-specific requirements and employee eligibility vary.

  • Arizona requires at least one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked unless you already have at least 40 hours of paid time off.
  • CaliforniaMaryland, and Massachusetts require one hour for every 30 hours worked, but the ability to use accumulated sick days doesn’t start until 90 days after the start of employment.
  • Connecticut requires one hour for every 40 hours worked for a maximum of 40 paid hours off a year. Employees can use these days after the first 30 days of employment.
  • New Jersey paid sick leave takes effect Oct. 29, 2018. Per diem, health care employees are exempt from the mandate.
  • Oregon requires business owners with more than 10 employees to give employees 40 hours of sick leave at the start of each year.
  • Vermont states that people who are employed for less than 20 weeks are exempt from the paid leave mandate.
  • Washington employers, like Connecticut employers, must offer one hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours of work, but employees can’t use it until after 90 days of work.

While some states may not have statewide policies, certain cities within those states could have their own sick leave mandates. For a more detailed list, click here.

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Nurses Week 2018 Steals and Deals

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Nurses Week is May 6th to 12th! Get the most out of your Nurses Week with these deals!

Nurses Week 2018 is almost here! Are you ready? To help you celebrate your week to the fullest, Travel Nursing Central has compiled a list of Nurses Week discounts, freebies, and deals for you.

Cinnabon: As the proud sponsor of the DAISY Foundation, Cinnabon is understandably all about nurse appreciation. During Nurses Week, show your medical ID badge to any participating Cinnabon store and receive a free, delicious treat full of gooey goodness! 

American Nurses Association: Interested in technology and nursing? Then ANA’s free webinar “Emerging Technology and Its Impact on Nursing Practice” is for you! Participants will earn a free CE and gain useful insight into the impact of technology on a nurse’s daily practice, real-world advice for adapting, and how to enhance patient care using technology. The live webinar is slated for May 9th at 1 p.m. ET. Registration closes at May 8th at 7 p.m. You can learn more here.

Lippincott Nursing Center: Enter for a chance to win a $50.00 Scrubs.com gift card at Lippincott Nursing Center’s website. All you need to do is explain what #NurseStrong means to you when you complete their form here. Applicants will also receive a $10 off CE coupon just by participating.

Medical Solutions: This travel nurse staffing company is pulling out all the stops for Nurses Week. Head over to WeLoveOurNurses.com and play trivia games, quizzes, and more for a chance to win some amazing prizes, including a $1,500 grand prize.

Disney World: The most magical place on Earth loves nurses too. They offer a hotel discount to nurses at the Swan and Dolphin. When booking your rooms, use the code DREAMS to receive the discount. You will have to provide your medical ID badge at check-in to get the discount. For more information, click here.

At DiscoverNursing.com, Johnson & Johnson continues to offer free nurse themed magnets, coloring books, a “Nurses Heal” pin, and many other complimentary resources including brochures, posters, videos, and software.

Did we miss any Nurses Week activities or events out there? Let us know in the comments below. In the meantime, Happy Nurses Week to all you hardworking nurses!

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Travel Nurse Average Salary

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When inquiring what the average yearly salary is for a travel nurse, the answer is : it depends.  Many travel nurses do not work assignment to assignment, but instead take a month off in between to re-group. Why? Mostly because they can and have the freedom to do so.  Also, salaries vary on the different parts of the country. So when figuring out the pay for travel nurses, it is better to ask what the average hourly wage is, instead of what is the average yearly salary.

So the question at hand, what is the average hourly wage of a travel nurse? $29-$40/ hour (payscale.com) The coasts being the higher end of the average, since they have higher costs of living.

There are some things to consider when negotiating your pay with the travel nurse company.  Some companies might provide a higher wage per hour, but may not offer benefits like paid housing, travel reimbursement and/or health insurance.  Those that offer lower wage per hour, usually offer more benefits, which keep you from paying more out of pocket and benefit you more in the long run. So while you may be making less an hour, you actually would be going home with more money.  These are things you need to make sure to ask and confirm with your recruiter, before you sign your contract.  

Remember; do not brush off an assignment because it has a lower salary. Be sure to inquire why it has a lower salary and what benefits are included.

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Benefits for Travel Nurses

LPN 300x203 - Benefits for Travel NursesWhile moving to different locations, travel nurses receive some of the best benefits available in the medical industry. When calculating all of the positive things that come from this type of career, it is no wonder that men and women continue to seek out this profession as both lucrative and exciting. Between the compensation, the travel benefits and the insurance coverage, becoming a travel nurse offers stability and potential that few other jobs can match.

Compensation

For most people, a paycheck is one of the most important parts of any job or career. Travel nurses are guaranteed a certain number of hours on any project on which they are assigned. Because of the demand in the medical field, these guarantees often include overtime. If the work isn`t there after a nurse has arrived, they are still guaranteed the pay they were promised. (The terms of guaranteed pay vary from company to company.)

Other compensation includes money for meals, housing (if not provided by the nursing company) and some incidentals. When added up, this is a sizable change from the pay of a typical nurse working in the same location day after day. On top of this, there are bonuses. A nurse could potentially be given a sign-on bonus, a job completion bonus and even a bonus for recommending friends for this career option.

Travel Benefits

When it comes to housing, traveling nurses often have two options. A company could provide housing for their nurses. In this case, the residence is fully furnished and usually within close distance of the medical facility. Others choose to arrange for their own housing.
These traveling nurses will usually get an allowance that will go towards the apartment, rental home or condo.

All traveling expenses are covered. Plane tickets, train tickets and even daily bus tickets are paid for. While this seems like an obvious benefit, there is more here than meets the eye. The money is usually given to a traveling nurse as a reimbursement. Because of this, there is no reason to pay taxes on this amount. For many traveling nurses, this is like getting a pay raise that doesn`t require paying any additional taxes.

Insurance Coverage

Traveling nurses have the option to choose between different types of medical insurance options. Some plans cover a nurse while they are away from home. Other plans cover the entire family. The ability to choose the plan that works well for the individual and their family is beneficial to any traveling nurse. Some form of life insurance coverage is usually available as well.

With all these benefits to consider, students looking for a promising career often find themselves drawn to nursing. With compensation that often outweighs that of local nurses and the ability to see new places and enjoy new experiences, the traveling medical industry is seeing steady increases in new recruits. To get an advantage over the competition, individuals look to some of the top nursing programs in the world to not only educate them, but also to help them search for the right traveling nurse opportunities.

Carly Anderson Director, www.college.com

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