Leader

Collapse

Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Volunteers and FLSA

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Dalmatian190
    replied
    Wonder if this bill will void that as it says we should be paid 20% of what paid FF's would be getting?

    Nope.

    What is says is if you earn more 20% of what a fulltime FF does, then FLSA will apply.

    It seems the real intent of this letter and issue speaks to a very small percentage of the fire service. It generally is a county department that also runs vollie stations, where a career FF can work in one FT station during the shift then "volunteer" when he/she is home in the vollie district. Same employer, same type of duties as being paid.

    Nope, not at all.

    The Montgomery County issue was addressed in a seperate very poor decision by the DOL a few years back that did a wink-wink at the same employer/same job situation for career County Firefighters could be treated as Volunteers since the County and Volunteer Fire Corporations where seperate employers...despite the VFCs contracting to provide essentially the same service to the County as the career firefighters provide.

    AFAIK, that was just a ruling from DOL and has not been court tested to see if that's how the courts actually rule.

    If that was the intent or spirit of FLSA, no one would earn overtime in the U.S. since the employers would just have you stop working for them, take off your employee ID badge at 5 o'clock, and pin on your contractor ID badge, and keep doing the same job for straight time.

    I believe the PG situation is different, where the volunteers are considered employees of the county itself, not the VFCs. So you don't have within-county two-hatting.

    ============
    Where I see this letter fitting in is to give municipalities guidance for their employees who also volunteer with the Fire Department...and if any compensation is paid to the FFs, at what point do they have to worry about FLSA provisions.

    It also clarifies if you pay volunteers by the hour, at what point do you no longer consider them volunteers, but instead as subject to minimum wage and overtime rules.

    Unless you pay a really good stipend, or you pay by hour...99.99% of us can ignore this letter.

    Leave a comment:


  • superchef
    replied
    deleted by user
    Last edited by superchef; 09-03-2007, 10:27 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • scfire86
    replied
    Originally posted by Bones42
    My town considers all members of the FD as 0 wage employees, simply for the reason of WC coverage. Wonder if this bill will void that as it says we should be paid 20% of what paid FF's would be getting? (I'll admit, I did not read the linked doc)
    FLSA rulings are typically enabling only. Meaning the municipality and the bargaining unit involved can negotiate the issue to a lesser standard if agreed upon.

    Leave a comment:


  • Bones42
    replied
    My town considers all members of the FD as 0 wage employees, simply for the reason of WC coverage. Wonder if this bill will void that as it says we should be paid 20% of what paid FF's would be getting? (I'll admit, I did not read the linked doc)

    Leave a comment:


  • RFDACM
    replied
    It seems the real intent of this letter and issue speaks to a very small percentage of the fire service. It generally is a county department that also runs vollie stations, where a career FF can work in one FT station during the shift then "volunteer" when he/she is home in the vollie district. Same employer, same type of duties as being paid. Look at PG or Montgomery Co. MD. for the shining examples of this. The big issue up until last year that affect many more of us, was the vol. FF who worked for the same municipality. Under the "old" rules you could not volunteer for the same employer reagrdless of job function. IE: The DPW worker could not be a volunteer FF without recieving OT for the time spent in either job. This has been changed to allow you to do anything but volunteer for the same duties that you work FT doing.

    Leave a comment:


  • firetruckred
    replied
    Originally posted by firenresq77
    How bout plain old Firefighter.........
    Your sooo right. How about just say Firefighter.

    The reason they pay vollies here is because to them it is like the postman at Christmas time. They get a little bonus. Twice a yr they send out checks. Once in the summer, once before Christmas. Is it right or wrong. I don't get into those politically correct questions. It's what the town council decides to do.That's it.

    Leave a comment:


  • needlejockey
    replied
    Originally posted by MPVFD2046
    Ok, so let me get this straight..this was a post about how some volunteers "may" or "may not" be compensated. Lets just end this thread here and now and remember...the little old lady who falls down at three in the morning or the homeowner who's house is on fire does not care if you are paid or volunteer, just that you are their to help no matter what your level of training is.... END OF STORY
    Actually is about what the line between being and "Employee" and a "Volunteer" is. Some places compensate their members and still call them Volunteers. Some call them Paid-On-Call Employees, some call them martians, the point is what your called no longer matters, it's what you're compensated. It's also about making sure you don't get screwed or screw over the municipality you may or may not work for.

    This isn't an old rehash about paid vs voulnteer.

    Leave a comment:


  • MPVFD2046
    replied
    paid or vollie

    Ok, so let me get this straight..this was a post about how some volunteers "may" or "may not" be compensated. Lets just end this thread here and now and remember...the little old lady who falls down at three in the morning or the homeowner who's house is on fire does not care if you are paid or volunteer, just that you are their to help no matter what your level of training is.... END OF STORY

    Leave a comment:


  • Dalmatian190
    replied
    The 20% of a full-time firefighters pay is the point that will be used to determine if FLSA will treat a person as an employee subject to FLSA provisions, or as a volunteer who is exempt.

    In the case of the DPW worker, he's free to continue volunteering as long as he's paid less than 20% then a full-time firefighter under either formula (hour or annual).

    The way I read it, if the DPW guy earns as a firefighter more than 20%, and both the DPW and the FD report up through the same structure to the same taxing entity...once he excedes the 20% that municipality better start combining his firefighting time with his DPW time.

    And like I said, 20% is a pretty high bar. In most of the country, you're talking $6,000+ a year. While I have seen some, there's very few that pay that well. The 20% of hourly pay is a lower bar, but again it's the relatively rare exception to find a part-time paid-by-hour department.

    =============
    The other indirect scenario to watch for is "perks" -- notably Chief's Cars in some jurisdictions where personnel use is allowed. Not in my area which is all POV, but start getting down to Long Island down into Maryland, it's not that uncommon.

    It's hard to imagine the car alone causing a problem, but combined with other things like a tax break and LOSAP, all of a sudden you could be looking at going over the 20% figure.

    If he's just a member of the FD, probably not bad because I would think the worse case he's only owed minimum wage...maybe a couple thousand dollars above what the 20% was. But if the guy was employed by the Town in another capacity for a much higher wage...and decides to seek revenge after being removed as Chief by saying since he put in 20 hours a week as Fire Chief, and his compensation including personel use of the Chief's Car was over the 20% rule, he'd like those 20 hours for the last three years paid at his normal job's time and half rate.

    So the letter says, keep it below the 20% and don't worry about any of this.

    Leave a comment:


  • superchef
    replied
    deleted by user
    Last edited by superchef; 09-03-2007, 10:40 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • firenresq77
    replied
    Originally posted by Dave1983
    Im not trying to stir sh**, it just bothers me when FFs who are compensated call theselves volunteers.
    How bout plain old Firefighter.........

    Leave a comment:


  • Dave1983
    replied
    I will stick to what I said. If you recieve compensation, you are not a volunteer, IMHO.

    Please understand, I started as a TRUE volunteer in 1983. Our compensation was nothing, nada, zip, zero, $0.00. We recived nothing for calls or drills. Our volunteers (combo dept.) still do not recieve any compensation.

    Im not trying to stir sh**, it just bothers me when FFs who are compensated call theselves volunteers.

    Leave a comment:


  • RFDACM
    replied
    Having just reviewed the actual letter it is a little clearer than some of us are making it. The 20% part is only to determine if the amount of pay is considered nominal. If it is then the firefighter is still considered a volunteer. Per FLSA you can be a piad volunteer so long as the pay is nominal, or another form of reimbursement of expenses or reasonable benefits. The firefighter still cannot volunteer for for the same job that he/she does for the same department. But a DPW employee clearly can regardless of what the amount of pay is.

    Leave a comment:


  • needlejockey
    replied
    Originally posted by Dalmatian190
    And under the letter, it's 20% of full-time firefighter pay.

    The biggest item to watch out for in that letter is how do you pay.

    If it's a stipend program of some sort, not directly linked to hours worked, most places will be in good shape. Figure in my state, full-time firefighter pay would average at least $50,000...certainly you don't see $10k stipends / LOSAPs / tax breaks / etc here. Even in MA where paid-on-call is very common, you rarely see that number.

    HOWEVER, if you pay on an hourly basis...it's 20% not of the *annual salary* of a paid FF, but 20% of the *hourly rate*. In New England, the 42 hour work week predominates for FFs, so that's $22.90/hour for the base pay of that $50k/year firefighter.

    20% of that is maximum of $4.58 hourly rate. Departments that are paying $8 or $10/hr for attendance at calls, drills, etc figured based on hours worked may have all their members fall short of the $10,000/year figure...but violate it on the hourly rate test.

    I'm not positive of the law, but I'd also worry if you pay a nominal amount like $5/hour for "volunteers"...someone with a hair up their butt in the future could argue that the 20% rule has been established, and once you surpassed 20% per hour of a fulltime FF, you also had to start paying the Minimum Wage.
    Now that's interesting thinking. This sounds like it could easily become a very touchy legal area. Looks like they were trying to clear up any confusion and managed to make more of a grey area than there was before. Hopefully this will be reviewed soon by some lawyers and we can get a more legal interpitation of it. But by the way I read it, it sounds like your right on the money there. Hmmm....

    Leave a comment:


  • LuckyThirteen
    replied
    Well, I'm a noob to all of this, so if I'm speaking a bit out of place I do apologize.

    I think it boils down to what and how you are getting paid as to whether you could still be considered a volunteer or not. For instance, the County of Sumter (SC) pays its volunteers $5/call. I don't think anyone in the county really looks at it as a wage (even though tax paperwork still needs to be filed) as much as the county having the resources to reimburse volunteers for gas and such, which in this day and age, a little help with gas is not a bad thing. Now, I'd do this regardless of whether they were compensating me for gas or not, but I would hardly think that $5/call is taking away someone's volunteer status.

    Just my .02...

    Cheers,
    Tom Warshaw

    Leave a comment:

300x600 Ad Unit (In-View)

Collapse

Upper 300x250

Collapse

Taboola

Collapse

Leader

Collapse
Working...
X