Except as provided in subsection (c), the Secretary may not require nursing staff to work more than 40 hours (or 24 hours if such staff is covered under section 7456 of this title) in an administrative work week or more than eight consecutive hours (or 12 hours if such staff is covered under section 7456 or 7456A of this title).
(b) Voluntary Overtime.—
Nursing staff may on a voluntary basis elect to work hours otherwise prohibited by subsection (a).
(2) The refusal of nursing staff to work hours prohibited by subsection (a) shall not be grounds—
(c) Overtime Under Emergency Circumstances.—
(1) Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary may require nursing staff to work hours otherwise prohibited by subsection (a) if—
the emergency is non-recurring and is not caused by or aggravated by the inattention of the Secretary or lack of reasonable contingency planning by the Secretary;
Nursing staff may not be required to work hours under this subsection after the requirement for a direct role by the staff in responding to medical needs resulting from the emergency ends.
(d) Nursing Staff Defined.—In this section, the term “nursing staff” includes the following: