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  • Volunteer Compensation

    I am a member of a dept that has both fulltime ff/medics and volunteers with a variety of certs. The volunteers are currently paid a set amount in "clothing allowance" that is under the maximum amount before taxes must be filed. This has created some problems with some people devoting all their off time to the dept and getting paid the same as those who are never seen except at the annual parties and dispursement of checks. A group of us including our cheif have decided to explore other ways of fairly compensating the volunteers that actually are doing a large amount for the department and NEED this clothing allowance for uniforms. What does everyone elses department do? We would love a variety of ideas that we can possibly make into a hybrid system to fit our department. Thank you all.

  • #2
    Well here are the 2 options I can think of.
    1. You have to make a minimum percentage of calls to qualify for the uniform allowance.
    2. Pay per call.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by EGregory View Post
      Well here are the 2 options I can think of.
      1. You have to make a minimum percentage of calls to qualify for the uniform allowance.
      2. Pay per call.
      What we do...
      1. You have to make a certain % of calls. (That % is set pretty low.)
      2. You have to make a certain number of hours to the trainings.
      3. You get paid per call and per training.

      So its simple, the more calls and trainings you make, the more you will make. We have had the issue (probably just like any other vollie dept.) of people not showing up and not training. To free up gear and give more guys the chance, we had to put it into writing and those that dont meet both minimums are let free of the dept.
      You will never get everyone to give as much as you want, but you can have steps in place to deal with those that give to little or nothing at all. Hope this helps.

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      • #4
        We stratify it.

        If you make 60% of calls (minimum to remain "active") you get the full amount.

        From 40% to 60% it is something like half

        <40% you get nada.
        I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

        "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

        "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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        • #5
          You guys get a uniform allowance?
          Lucky.
          Benton Fire District Four
          Ladder One
          First Due!


          Caddo Parish Fire District 1
          Career Firefighter/Paramedic


          When things get rough, just say:
          Acabo de perder cinco minutos de su vida.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
            We stratify it.

            If you make 60% of calls (minimum to remain "active") you get the full amount.

            From 40% to 60% it is something like half

            <40% you get nada.
            Chief, do you guys have a set amount a year per person and then they get docked on that or do they get so much per call but then if they dont make the 60% they only get half the pay for what they showed up to? (Did you follow me? lol)

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            • #7
              What, you get "paid" for volunteering.

              We don't get paid, but do have minimum standards for the "benefits" that we do get. To maintain active membership status which allows you to vote, you need 60 points a year. Points are earned by running calls, training, meeting attendance, collateral duty and being an officer. There are maximum allowable points in each category and you must have points in at least 4 categories.

              We also require 10 calls per month to keep a locker and pager. Lockers are assigned based on call volume.

              The county provides some other incentives. I believe that they require 10 points a month for a 2 year period. Only 7 of those point can be for calls.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by tfpd109 View Post
                Chief, do you guys have a set amount a year per person and then they get docked on that or do they get so much per call but then if they dont make the 60% they only get half the pay for what they showed up to? (Did you follow me? lol)
                There is a set amount that sets the base. It's less then $500/year. I know other departments that get paid per call... to me (and I aint no accountant) that sounds like taxable income.

                Originally posted by Eng34FF View Post
                What, you get "paid" for volunteering.
                No, we get a clothing allowance.
                I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

                "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

                "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

                Comment


                • #9
                  "volunteer compensation" is an oxymoron.

                  If they're compensated, they aren't "volunteers." Anything beyond that is just arguing over "salary" like any other employee.
                  "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                  sigpic
                  The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by FIREguy2011 View Post
                    You guys get a uniform allowance?
                    Lucky.
                    My thoughts exactly.

                    Pay per call??? I wish. I know we'd have a lot better turnout if that happened.

                    So do you return any unspent clothing allowance $$$??

                    We are issued a dress shirt only. Occasionaly we will buy everyone logo shirts or jackets out of the volunteer fund.

                    I do bill our volly dept. a nominal amount for major equipment repairs that they would otherwise have to pay a shop to do.
                    My wise and profound comments and opinions are mine alone and are in no way associated with any other individual or group.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
                      If they're compensated, they aren't "volunteers." Anything beyond that is just arguing over "salary" like any other employee.
                      Based on your statement, I have 40 "employees" (because they're not "volunteers") at my VFD since we get a small amount taken off of our annual vehicle tax as a measure of thanks from the county's Board of Supervisors?
                      Career Fire Captain
                      Volunteer Chief Officer


                      Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
                        Based on your statement, I have 40 "employees" (because they're not "volunteers") at my VFD since we get a small amount taken off of our annual vehicle tax as a measure of thanks from the county's Board of Supervisors?
                        "Volunteers" are considered the same as "employees" in many senses anyway. (OSHA, Workers Compensation, etc.)

                        Since they're receiving financial compensation, the term "volunteer" is definitely stretched a bit thin.
                        "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                        sigpic
                        The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
                          Since they're receiving financial compensation, the term "volunteer" is definitely stretched a bit thin.
                          Cool, I'll make a motion to scrape the word "volunteer" off the side of the rigs at the next business meeting.

                          Let's coordinate schedules so you can come explain to my guys who are compromising their family time to run calls, go to training, and attend meetings that they aren't really "volunteering" their time, they're employees and the $100/year they have deducted from their taxes is plenty of compensation for their time and effort.

                          I wonder where their portion of "volunteer" FICA goes?
                          Career Fire Captain
                          Volunteer Chief Officer


                          Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
                            Cool, I'll make a motion to scrape the word "volunteer" off the side of the rigs at the next business meeting.
                            Great idea. We're working on that here, now that the IRS caught up with our "volunteers" and they're now part-time employees complete with W-2s.

                            Let's coordinate schedules so you can come explain...
                            What is there to explain? "Volunteers" don't work for compensation. That's not what "volunteer" means. Having been both a volunteer firefighters and a POC firefighter prior to going career, I at least understand the difference.
                            "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"
                            sigpic
                            The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              That's a shame that they're having to do W2's. Luckily, the CPA that handles our books hasn't been faced with that proposition yet.

                              Originally posted by DeputyMarshal
                              "Volunteers" don't work for compensation.
                              Our guys aren't working for compensation either. They're "working" because they enjoy what they're doing. They happen to receive a tax break. Is a tax break compensation? Are they "working for compensation"? It all sounds like semantics to me.
                              Career Fire Captain
                              Volunteer Chief Officer


                              Never taking for granted that I'm privileged enough to have the greatest job in the world!

                              Comment

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