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The Fifth Circuit court of Appeals has ruled that Nurse Practitioners (“NPs”) and Physician Assistants (“PAs”) who are paid on an hourly basis are entitled to overtime compensation for hours worked over 40 in a workweek.

In June Belt, and others, versus EmCare, Inc and Texas EM-I Medical Services, P.A., a group of NPs and PAs sued claiming that their employer was violating federal law by classifying them as exempt and failing to pay them additional compensation for overtime hours worked. EmCare claimed that its NPs and PAs were exempt from the overtime requirements of the Fair Labor Standards act under the “professional” exemption.

The court focused heavily on whether NPs and PAs were engaged in the practice of medicine and on an interpretive bulletin from the Department of Labor saying this exemption does not apply to PAs or NPs unless they are paid on a salary basis.

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