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In the absence of an employment contract that prohibits it, yes they can. There are no wage and hour laws that limit the amount of hours that a person 18 years of age or older can work either by the day, week, or number of days in a row, or that require breaks for employees 16 years of age or older. An employer is free to adjust the hours of its employees regardless of what the employees are scheduled to work.
An employer can make the scheduling or rescheduling of its employees hours worked as a condition of employment.
The rules are the same for a large corporation or a small mom-and-pop business, and there are no separate exclusions under the law for nurses. Neither the N. C. Wage and Hour Act nor the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) limit the amount of hours that an employee 18 years of age or older can be required to work either by the day, week, or number of days in a row. There are no limitations on how many hours an adult employee can be required to work regardless whether they are a salaried-exempt employee or a non-exempt employee. The employer is only required to pay time and one-half overtime pay based on an employee’s regular rate of pay for all hours worked in excess of 40 in a workweek to its non-exempt employees. There is no limit on the number of hours the adult employee may be required to work.
The decision to work employees in eight-hour shifts, 12-hour shifts, 16-hour shifts, etc., is entirely up to the employer. The decision to call an employee back in to work on a scheduled day off is entirely up to the employer. An employer can make the working on a scheduled day off or working a full shift as a condition of employment regardless of an employee’s start-time or end-time. An employer can make the working of overtime hours as a condition of employment. Since an employer can make the working of overtime mandatory, the employer can terminate an employee if the employee refuses to work overtime regardless of how many hours the employee has already worked that day or workweek. The employer does not have give its employees any advanced notice of having to work extra hours. An employer can inform its employees that they have to work overtime at the last minute. The employer does not have to take into consideration how the work schedule will affect an employee’s personal life.
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