Tag Archives: regular rate

Retention Bonus, Firefighters, and the FLSA

Today’s FLSA Question: I am a city finance director responsible for paying our city’s public safety workers. The fire chief recently approached me with an interesting idea for new firefighters. During the recession the city lowered the starting wages for fire department employees significantly. This has impacted our ability to recruit and retain rookie firefighters. The chief would like to ...

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Settlement Reached in Cleveland EMS FLSA Lawsuit

The City of Cleveland, OH has agreed to pay over $619,322 to settle a 2018 lawsuit filed by a lone EMT alleging the city violated the FLSA and Ohio state law. The suit, which was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in November 2018, contained rather straight-forward allegations of underpaid overtime. Specifically, EMS Captain Margerita ...

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Judge Sides with WV Firefighters In First Round of Holiday Pay Dispute; Extent of Damages and Fate of Retaliation Claims Remain

A Berkeley County West Virginia Circuit Court judge issued a summary judgement ruling in favor of approximately three dozen current and former Martinsburg, West Virginia firefighters following a 2018 lawsuit over holiday pay. A summary judgement ruling is a judicial decision based on undisputed facts without the need for a full-blown trial. Here, Judge Laura Faircloth found the city liable ...

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Regular Rate, Sick Leave Incentives, and the FLSA

Today’s FLSA Question: I am the fire chief of a mid-sized municipal fire department. The most recent collective bargaining agreement with our firefighters contains an incentive plan designed to curb sick leave abuse. Firefighters and officers that use less than 72 hours of sick leave during a calendar year receive an additional 24 hours of paid leave during the following ...

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Firefighters, Overtime, and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA)

Firefighters, Overtime, and the Fair Labor Standards Act is the title of an article appearing in this month’s Firehouse Magazine. The article was written by my friend and colleague Curt Varone. The article is based on Curt’s Fire Litigation Database and delves into the top five reasons fire departments are getting sued under the FLSA. In the following podcast, Curt ...

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California City Quickly Settles FLSA Dispute with Former Fire Department Employees

The crux of the plaintiff’s complaint involved alleged FLSA regular rate violations. In particular, the city’s failure to include certain wage augments in the plaintiffs’ regular rate. The FLSA requires virtually all the money an employee is paid included in his or her regular rate. Proper calculation of the regular rate is critical since all FLSA overtime must be paid at a rate of at least time-and-one-half of the employee’s regular rate. Very often employers utilize an employee’s base hourly rate to calculate the overtime rate of pay. However, the FLSA requires that all remuneration be included in the regular rate of pay.

Specifically, the plaintiffs made two basic claims:

  • First, the city failed to include money paid directly to employees in lieu of receiving employer sponsored medical benefits in the regular rate.
  • Second, the plaintiffs also wanted holiday pay included in their regular rate.

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