Is the Future of the Fluctuating Workweek for Firefighters in Question?

Does your fire department use the fluctuating workweek method (FWW) of overtime compensation? A recent federal appeals court decision may have you looking for an alternative. Recently, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals limited the ability of some employers to use the FWW method of overtime compensation. Before we can discuss recent developments, let’s explain the FWW, and why you ...

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City Looks to Curb Firefighter Overtime in New Contract

The Austin City Council is set to review a new contract between the city and firefighters later this week. The new agreement changes, among other things, the way overtime is paid to the city’s firefighters. The agreement comes on the heels of a recent report that found overtime for the Austin Fire Department had increased 147 percent between 2014 and ...

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FLSA + Promotional Exam Question = Confusion

Today’s FLSA Question I attended one of your Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for Fire Departments seminars last year. I learned a great deal about the FLSA over those three days. However, I just took a promotional examination for deputy chief within my fire department and found the following question: Which of the following must be true in order for ...

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PulsePoint CPR Notification System and the FLSA

Today’s FLSA Question I am a fire chief. My EMS chief wants us to consider a CPR notification system known as PulsePoint. It notifies trained citizens (and off-duty firefighters) when there is a CPR incident nearby so that immediate aid can be rendered. It’s a wonderful system, and as this video shows, one of the best uses for it could involve ...

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Texas Court Strikes Down Obama-Era EAP Changes . . . Again

The wait is finally over. On August 31, a federal judge in Texas issued an opinion formally striking down proposed Department of Labor (DOL) changes for Executive, Administrative, and Professional (EAP) employee exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The latest decision comes several months following this judge’s earlier ruling that postponed the long-awaited implementation of new federal regulations. ...

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Georgia Firefighters Claim County Violated FLSA… Again…

For the second time in three years current and former Augusta-Richmond County firefighters have filed a federal lawsuit in the Southern District of Georgia claiming the county violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The firefighters claim the county failed to include EMT stipends in firefighter’s regular rate of pay. Determining the proper regular rate can be challenging at times ...

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Police officers in Virginia sue city for unpaid overtime

Four Richmond VA police officers are suing the city for unpaid overtime. The officers filing the law suit were assigned to former mayor, Dwight C. Jones’ “Executive Protection Unit” (EPU). This specialized unit provided security and transportation for the mayor.  According to the complaint, these officers worked and were paid “significant overtime” in the past.  However, EPU operations and costs ...

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On Call Time and the FLSA

Today’s FLSA Question: I am a career fire captain who works a 24/48 schedule. Captains in my department are required to be on call and take a command vehicle home on certain days off. We are on call while off duty and must respond to any alarm requiring more than two pieces of apparatus. Calls like box alarms, building fires, ...

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Mandatory Medical Exams and the FLSA

Dueling FLSA questions from two perspectives with the same answer. Fire Chief’s question: Our fire department began providing our firefighters with annual physicals several years ago. It was a tough sell in tough fiscal times but it was mandated by OSHA and we really had no choice. We try to schedule personnel while they are on duty, but one of ...

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Should you get paid for answering phone calls and responding to emails while “off-duty”?

The City of Philadelphia just agreed to pay police officer’s approximately $8 million dollars to do just that. The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 which represents Philadelphia police officers filed a complaint alleging the City required officers to frequently check phones and email while “off-duty”. The officers argued requiring them to regularly check and respond to department calls and ...

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