The Summerville Fire and Rescue Department in Summerville, South Carolina is the latest fire department to move away from paying its firefighters under the fluctuating workweek (FWW) method of overtime compensation. Summerville firefighters will no longer receive salary-based pay under the FWW and instead will be compensated by the hour.
The move is expected to cost the city an additional $150,000 but will provide the fire department with more flexibility and simplify the payroll process. Summerville joins the cities of Bloomington, Indiana and Charleston, South Carolina in moving away from the FWW method. Although both of those cities paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in back FLSA wages for improperly calculating firefighters’ pay under the highly technical FWW method.
For those that are not familiar with the FWW method of overtime compensation, it goes something like this. The FWW requires the employer and employee to reach a “clear and mutual understanding” that a fixed salary covers all hours worked in a week. The employee is still eligible to receive overtime for hours worked over the statutory maximum (i.e., hours worked more than 40 in 7 days or for §207(k) firefighters more than 53 in 7 days or whatever work period the department has established). But since the salary is intended to compensate the employee for all hours worked (even overtime hours), the employee does not receive the typical time and one-half for overtime hours. Instead, the employee receives “half pay,” or one-half of his or her regular rate for overtime hours.
Under the FWW method of overtime compensation, an employee’s overtime pay per hour decreases the more hours he or she works.
Here is more on Summerville’s story from News 2.
Also, here is some more on the FWW.