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  1. #1
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    Default Sleep time for 24 hour shifts

    I am wondering if anyone works 24 hour shifts with sleep time that is not paid due to FLSA rules of up to 8 hours unpaid if there are no calls and a minimum of 5 hours of sleep is given? If you do does the sleep time count when you work overtime shifts or do you get the full 24 hours of overtime?


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    Thumbs down Hell No!

    Quote Originally Posted by Bombero36 View Post
    I am wondering if anyone works 24 hour shifts with sleep time that is not paid due to FLSA rules of up to 8 hours unpaid if there are no calls and a minimum of 5 hours of sleep is given? If you do does the sleep time count when you work overtime shifts or do you get the full 24 hours of overtime?
    F-Dat. I can't see anyone taking it that far. You aren't paying me, I'm not staying in the firehouse. For many of us this is a job, and while it may be one many of us truly enjoy, there is a point where the city can only ask so much,. I thought the low pay and constant battle for adequate staffing and continued benefits was the limit, but deducting hours slept?

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    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    While I do not work for a dept that is using this adaptation of FLSA, I have in the past.

    What may be a bit diifferent was 8 hours was not paid for sleep and meals. If a call interupted sleep, then the Chief made the determination if hours would be paid. Mostly it depended on the nature of the call and the amount of sleep time interupted.

    Under FLSA, the firefighter must have the opportunity for 5 hours sleep. That has a broad meaning since depending on policy, the department may give the firefighter the option for sleep anytime after 2000 until the end of shift at 0600 (or so). So by using these times, there are 10 hours of free time that can be used for sleeping.

    In the dept that I was with at the time, firefighters began their free time at 1900 and the shift change occurred at 0700. The crews I had tended to be nightowls and didn't turn in until around 0000 or 0100. I didn't care as long as they did not let it interfere with the mission. But because of this, most overnight calls of less than 2 hours was not paid. If it moved beyond two hours, I would usually approve it. Interupted meals was not paid unless it became a frequent thing. It happened about 1 out of 20 shifts. That was one hour per shift, 7 hours for sleep time.

    It was matter of budget constraints, and not to try to beat anyone out of the hours. In the last contract, it was a negotiated matter of cutting 10 guys or cutting 8 hours per shift (4.5 hours adjusted). They chose this way and stood together. They didn't throw 10 guys away. Good for them.
    Last edited by PaladinKnight; 08-18-2010 at 03:58 PM.
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    sounds like that would only work in a slow department.

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    But because of this, most overnight calls of less than 2 hours was not paid. If it moved beyond two hours, I would usually approve it.
    I'm sorry... but that is BS. I realize that you were doing what the powers that be told you to do, but deep in your heart, you knew it was wrong.

    Any of the "bean" counters that think sleep time in a firehouse is the same as at home curled up with your wife/lover/significant other has never spent any time in a firehouse. Lights, tones and bells go off on a constant basis, calls come in back to back, personnel and apparatus get moved for cover assignements, etc. etc. etc.

    There have been many FD's here in the northeast that have made concessions to save jobs... and their communities cut the jobs anyways... so much for believing the bean counters...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Forum Member PaladinKnight's Avatar
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    Gonz... I didn't say I liked it. Didn't say I endorsed it. It was just the way it was.

    We all have done some of those things we didn't like or agreed with. If I put my principals in front of a paycheck on everything throughout my life, I would have eaten a lot more beans and bread.

    Notice I put in that little 4.5 hour adjusted. Because I didn't like it, I tried to limit the effect as much as possible. Instead of the guys losing 8 hours out of 24.5, they lost about 4.5, bring them to a 20 hour shift. This reduced the likelihood of overtime, which was the intention of the issue. So it could have been much worse. Two floater positions were eliminated by way of attrition, so some overtime was still an issue, which is predictable.

    The major change was going from 3 platoons to 4 on 24/72 schedules. So many things happened at once based on what the City Manager designed trying to reduce costs. A COLA was honored and another 3% added on top to ease some of the adjustments. Not many of the things I urged caution on were heard or heeded, so what he presumed or predicted was incorrect.

    I might add that Call backs increased and that alone wiped out anything saved. The platoon change reduced daily staff levels which was bad in itself. So the plan was doomed from the beginning. This why bean counters should not count beans on things they know nothing about.

    Any reduction has an effect on everyone. But the reality was either we cut payroll costs, or we cut positions. They were serious about it an no contract was going to matter. It was all about the bottom line.

    I understand that the City Manager changed cities right after I left, so perhaps it was not working to the boss's liking. I would like to say that I left because of it (fall on my sword), but that wasn't the reason. This was going on when I came in (2007) and my contract didn't include the duties of contract negotiation. I was there for a specific reason, 1 year with a possible 6 month extension, and a 6 month escape clause. I was there for 400 days without fanfare, no headlines, and no issues. I let the junior officers have the 5 minutes of fame thing on TV and print.
    Last edited by PaladinKnight; 08-18-2010 at 06:17 PM.
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    I worked for a private ambulance that used this system back in 1994 or so.
    Eventually the owner was sued by multiple employees and they won back pay.

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    A private ambulance cannot adopt FSLA. They could choose to not pay for sleep time and be wrong.

    If an employer requires an employee to be at their job site, then the employee is entitled to be compensated. The only exception is if the Jurisdiction has become 7K compliant (FSLA).
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    Forum Member sfd1992's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flipper123 View Post
    I worked for a private ambulance that used this system back in 1994 or so.
    Eventually the owner was sued by multiple employees and they won back pay.
    Was that King Co. Ambulance?

    I almost went to work there in 1990, and I remember that being mentioned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RFDACM02 View Post
    F-Dat. I can't see anyone taking it that far. You aren't paying me, I'm not staying in the firehouse. For many of us this is a job, and while it may be one many of us truly enjoy, there is a point where the city can only ask so much,. I thought the low pay and constant battle for adequate staffing and continued benefits was the limit, but deducting hours slept?
    Just to clarify the discussion, our department is a combination department and to get the funding entities to approve 24 hour career coverage we had to come up with a deal for our firefighter who were working 12 hour shifts at the time. Their pay is very good and to go to 24 hour coverage they had to either take an hourly pay cut or agree to the 7 hours of sleep time to be able to afford the system or our firefighters would have end up making over $100,000 a year working only the shifts required. Our department also allows career staff to return for any fire calls on their days off plus wildland which adds a lot of overtime. The sleep time allows us to afford the 24 hour system and if the firefighters respond to calls in the middle of the night they receive pay at 1 1/2 times their normal salary plus if the calls go over two hours they get paid overtime for the full 7 hours of sleep time. I will guarantee their is no loss of pay and they are very well compensated.
    Last edited by Bombero36; 08-19-2010 at 11:44 AM.

  11. #11
    Forum Member TNFF319's Avatar
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    I currently work for county EMS. That is the way we are paid. Any call during our sleep time is OT. If it last longer than 3 hrs we get the full 8 hrs OT. I don't like it at all. We would make more if we were paid the whole 24. You can either take the job or be unemployed.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bombero36 View Post
    Just to clarify the discussion, our department is a combination department and to get the funding entities to approve 24 hour career coverage we had to come up with a deal for our firefighter who were working 12 hour shifts at the time. Their pay is very good and to go to 24 hour coverage they had to either take an hourly pay cut or agree to the 7 hours of sleep time to be able to afford the system or our firefighters would have end up making over $100,000 a year working only the shifts required. Our department also allows career staff to return for any fire calls on their days off plus wildland which adds a lot of overtime. The sleep time allows us to afford the 24 hour system and if the firefighters respond to calls in the middle of the night they receive pay at 1 1/2 times their normal salary plus if the calls go over two hours they get paid overtime for the full 7 hours of sleep time. I will guarantee their is no loss of pay and they are very well compensated.
    Interesting enough. Our FD is also a combo, but has had 24 hour personnel for 30+ years, so the thought of not being paid to while in house is beyond normal to me. I can understand going that route to gain coverage or maintain staff (as a last resort). Oour crews would rarely be docked pay as they're routinely out 2 or 3 times a night, mostly for EMS, but up and out. Any no one is making close to $100K with OT included.

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    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    Default looking at it worng

    Like most firefighters, everyone gets the azz and says if they aren't getting paid thay are going home when in actuality it is for the individuals betterment that they are not getting paid these "sleep" hours because their hourly rate of pay is higher when they receive OT pay.
    Robert Kramer
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    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Like most firefighters, everyone gets the azz and says if they aren't getting paid thay are going home when in actuality it is for the individuals betterment that they are not getting paid these "sleep" hours because their hourly rate of pay is higher when they receive OT pay.
    I see what your saying, but I doubt this is the case in most instances.
    It would only work to the firefighters benefit if they are not forcing them to move to this system to save money, in which case they're leaving the rate the same and not adjusting the rate based on hours worked. We've sen this before in the opposite way when a FD moved from 56 hr weeks to 42's and left the rate the same. Good deal for the crew. But if a city is using this as a cost saving measure, I'm betting their not offering to change the rate as it would defeat the purpose of saving dough. The hourly rate can be a negotiable wage, vs. the weekly, or bi-weekly, so it depends on how they work it. This is a bean counter rule that wouldn't come up for discussion unless it saved money, meaning brothers and sisters will make less money or there will be fewer of them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MemphisE34a View Post
    Like most firefighters, everyone gets the azz and says if they aren't getting paid thay are going home when in actuality it is for the individuals betterment that they are not getting paid these "sleep" hours because their hourly rate of pay is higher when they receive OT pay.
    It doesn't work if the department is slow. ex. $10 an hr X 16 hrs= $160. Ot $15x8= $120 total= $280. $10 x 24= 240. It is better to get the $240 every shift then the random $280.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Forum Member MemphisE34a's Avatar
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    I see what both of you are saying and perhaps this is a different circumstance, but here is an example of what I am talking about:

    This has been years ago, but I know of a small department in Mississippi that was paid for 18 hours per 24 hour shift due to "sleep" time. They were similarly paid overtime for hours that were up on calls between 2300 - 0600 hours.

    They eventually raised such a rukus that the town changed their payscales so that they would be paid for the entire 24 hour shift. To accomplish this they merely reduced their hourly wage so that they made the same amount of money for 24 hours that they were previously making in 18.

    I do not know their actualy payscales at the time, but for arguments sake, lets say they were making $200 a shift. Now instead of making $11.11 per hour for 18 hours, they were making $8.33 for 24. So NO overtime during any 24 hour shift and any extra overtime shift they pulled were worth $299.88 instead of $399.96 at their old hourly rate.

    I guess they showed them!

    My point was that that in essence we are salaried or dollars per shift employees. You are better off with the highest hourly rate possible. If they want to say they are paying me for 10 hours a day and the rest is leisure time, so be it. Overtime days will be worth A LOT more!!!
    Robert Kramer
    cell #901-494-9437

    Management is making sure things are done right. Leadership is doing the right thing. The fire service needs alot more leaders and a lot less managers.

    "Everyone goes home" is the mantra for the pussification of the modern, American fire service.


    Comments made are my own. They do not represent the official position or opinion of the Fire Department or the City for which I am employed. In fact, they are normally exactly the opposite.

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