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February 26, 2004
W. Virginia Bans Forced Overtime for Nurses

West Virginia has a new law that prohibits private hospitals in the state from requiring nurses to work overtime except in emergencies or to finish a procedure, the Associated Press reports.

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Signed by Gov. Bob Wise, the law will require the state's 60 private hospitals to give nurses at least eight hours off if they work more than 12 hours.

"We cannot ask nurses to work hours on end, jeopardizing patient and employee lives," says Wise.

West Virginia becomes the third state to ban mandatory overtime, joining New Jersey and Washington, the AP reports.

The law does not apply to voluntary overtime, when a nurse needs to complete a patient's care procedure already in progress, or when an unforeseen emergency arises.

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