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  1. #21
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    A clothing allowance is not compensation.
    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."


  2. #22
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    A clothing allowance is not compensation.
    If I may ask, what is it then?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  3. #23
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    If I may ask, what is it then?
    An accountable or non-accountable reimbursement plan. Depends on how it is administered. Ideally as an accountable plan.

    Not to mention that there are other IRS rules that allow payment to volunteer firefighters that are excluded from income. There has also been some publications from the DOL about this very topic.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-28-2010 at 10:15 PM.
    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."

  4. #24
    MembersZone Subscriber tree68's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Let the record show that it was a volunteer who first referred to it as a hobby in this thread.
    A rather demanding one, as it were.

    I was actually taking my meaning from the Latin root - a (from) vocation (job/skill). Definition #3 here .

    But you are right - for many of us it is analogous to a hobby - something we do with our spare time. Some people garden, some play golf, some build model railroads. We fight fires.

    I think that you really need to add a third significant category, Paid-on-Call, whether John Q. Public understands the distinction or not. The blank spaces between volunteer & POC and POC & career can be gray areas but those three stand out as qualitatively distinct, IMHO.
    I don't disagree. But I do maintain that even a POC firefighter still fits my basic definition of someone for whom firefighting is not their primary job. The only difference between POC and "pure" volunteer when the tones drop is that the POC is gonna get a check later, and I'm not. They still have to worry about leaving work, getting up to go to work in the morning, etc.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

  5. #25
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    An accountable or non-accountable reimbursement plan. Depends on how it is administered. Ideally as an accountable plan.
    How does that affect whether or not it's compensation? Funding/reimbursing expenses is still a form of compensation.

    Not to mention that there are other IRS rules that allow payment to volunteer firefighters that are excluded from income. There has also been some publications from the DOL about this very topic.
    Not relevant to the question of compensation. The IRS rules simply delineate forms of compensation that are and are not taxable as income.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  6. #26
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    A rather demanding one, as it were.
    Agreed absolutely -- and more demanding every year.

    I was actually taking my meaning from the Latin root
    No doubt, but its most common English synonym just cried out from the screen. :P

    We fight fires.
    Not too shabby as hobbies go, eh?

    But I do maintain that even a POC firefighter still fits my basic definition of someone for whom firefighting is not their primary job.
    Agreed, but it doesn't fit either the volunteer or career category either.

    The only difference between POC and "pure" volunteer when the tones drop is that the POC is gonna get a check later, and I'm not.
    That's a pretty significant difference, IMHO.

    They still have to worry about leaving work, getting up to go to work in the morning, etc.
    By the same token, they also both have the option to not leave work, not stay out all night, etc. The difference is uncompensated versus compensated avocations. In this case, the simple distinction between vocation and avocation isn't sufficient to describe the difference between significant broad categories.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  7. #27
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    How does that affect whether or not it's compensation? Funding/reimbursing expenses is still a form of compensation.
    Reimbursing and compensating are completely different.
    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."

  8. #28
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Reimbursing and compensating are completely different.
    Not at all; reimbursement is just one form of compensation. For instance, a department might reimburse someone for clothing/uniform expenses as compensation for their out of pocket expenses.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  9. #29
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Not at all; reimbursement is just one form of compensation.
    Negative, Ghostrider.

    Not when considering employment/volunteer status. While it may be compensation as webster's defines it; it is not pay.
    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."

  10. #30
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Not when considering employment/volunteer status.
    You're obscuring the point by adding qualifiers that are irrelevant.

    Volunteers do what they do without compensation: That's what makes them "volunteers."

    A clothing allowance is a form of compensation.

    The more compensation someone receives for a job (particularly systematic compensation), the less like a volunteer and more like an employee they become.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  11. #31
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    You're obscuring the point by adding qualifiers that are irrelevant.

    Volunteers do what they do without compensation: That's what makes them "volunteers."

    A clothing allowance is a form of compensation.

    The more compensation someone receives for a job (particularly systematic compensation), the less like a volunteer and more like an employee they become.
    How can you say not getting paid is irrelevant?

    They do it without pay. That is what makes them volunteers. You know, paid or volunteer.... I think it is generally accepted that if you don't make your living as a firefighter you are a volunteer.

    You can be paid on call for a volunteer fire department... heck you can be paid and be on a volunteer fire department.

    When the salvation army ringers get a free cup of coffee (compensation) they stop becoming volunteers??

    You are stretching your point too far.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-28-2010 at 11:42 PM.
    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."

  12. #32
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    How can you say not getting paid is irrelevant?
    Because, if they get a clothing allowance, they're "getting paid."

    They do it without pay. That makes them volunteers.
    "Getting paid" isn't limited to collecting a salary.

    So, when the salvation army ringers get a free cup of coffee (compensation) they stop becoming volunteers.
    In case you weren't aware of it, Salivation Army bellringers get paid.

    You are stretching your point to far.
    I disagree. I'm simply stating a fact.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  13. #33
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Because, if they get a clothing allowance, they're "getting paid."
    No, they are getting reimbursed. Its not wages (do you like that word better then "pay"?).

    "Getting paid" isn't limited to collecting a salary.
    Clothing allowance is not a salary, far from it. You discount the IRS as a basis for deciding this, but that is where the determination is made.

    In case you weren't aware of it, Salivation Army bellringers get paid.
    I'm not aware of their status, substitute some other volunteer and the cup of coffee.
    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."

  14. #34
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    No, they are getting reimbursed. Its not wages (do you like that word better then "pay"?).
    It's a different word with different meaning. I didn't say they were getting wages: I said they're getting compensated which is one way of "getting paid."

    Clothing allowance is not a salary, far from it.
    Who said it was?

    You discount the IRS as a basis for deciding this, but that is where the determination is made.
    The only determination the IRS makes is if you owe them taxes. That distinction is irrelevant.

    I'm not aware of their status, substitute some other volunteer and the cup of coffee.
    Is this hypothetical cup of coffee a random occurance or an expected/contractual duty offered by the organization? You see where this is going, right?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  15. #35
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    It's a different word with different meaning. I didn't say they were getting wages: I said they're getting compensated which is one way of "getting paid."

    Who said it was?

    The only determination the IRS makes is if you owe them taxes. That distinction is irrelevant.

    Is this hypothetical cup of coffee a random occurance or an expected/contractual duty offered by the organization? You see where this is going, right?

    Section..... of the FLSA and 29 CFR.... indicate that an individual is a volunteer, not an employee of a public agency, when the individual meets the following criteria:

    1. Performs hours of service for a public agency for civic, charitable or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expection or receipt of compensation for services rendered. Although a volunteer can receive no compensation, a volunteer can be paid expenses, reasonable benefits or a nominal fee to perform such services;

    ...

    Note that nominal fee can mean tens of thousands of dollars as long as it doesn't exceed 20% of what that agency would pay for a full timer.

    http://www.iafc.org/associations/468...Test080706.pdf
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-28-2010 at 11:59 PM.
    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."

  16. #36
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Do you have a point in there somewhere?
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  17. #37
    Back In Black ChiefKN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyMarshal View Post
    Do you have a point in there somewhere?
    Yea, point is I'm right and you are wrong. Note the consistent use of "volunteer".

    Here is 29 CFR 553.106


    Title 29: Labor
    PART 553—APPLICATION OF THE FAIR LABOR STANDARDS ACT TO EMPLOYEES OF STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
    Subpart B—Volunteers


    ß 553.106 Payment of expenses, benefits, or fees.
    (a) Volunteers may be paid expenses, reasonable benefits, a nominal fee, or any combination thereof, for their service without losing their status as volunteers.

    (b) An individual who performs hours of service as a volunteer for a public agency may receive payment for expenses without being deemed an employee for purposes of the FLSA. A school guard does not become an employee because he or she receives a uniform allowance, or reimbursement for reasonable cleaning expenses or for wear and tear on personal clothing worn while performing hours of volunteer service. (A uniform allowance must be reasonably limited to relieving the volunteer of the cost of providing or maintaining a required uniform from personal resources.) Such individuals would not lose their volunteer status because they are reimbursed for the approximate out-of-pocket expenses incurred incidental to providing volunteer services, for example, payment for the cost of meals and transportation expenses.

    (c) Individuals do not lose their status as volunteers because they are reimbursed for tuition, transportation and meal costs involved in their attending classes intended to teach them to perform efficiently the services they provide or will provide as volunteers. Likewise, the volunteer status of such individuals is not lost if they are provided books, supplies, or other materials essential to their volunteer training or reimbursement for the cost thereof.

    (d) Individuals do not lose their volunteer status if they are provided reasonable benefits by a public agency for whom they perform volunteer services. Benefits would be considered reasonable, for example, when they involve inclusion of individual volunteers in group insurance plans (such as liability, health, life, disability, workers' compensation) or pension plans or “length of service” awards, commonly or traditionally provided to volunteers of State and local government agencies, which meet the additional test in paragraph (f) of this section.

    (e) Individuals do not lose their volunteer status if they receive a nominal fee from a public agency. A nominal fee is not a substitute for compensation and must not be tied to productivity. However, this does not preclude the payment of a nominal amount on a “per call” or similar basis to volunteer firefighters. The following factors will be among those examined in determining whether a given amount is nominal: The distance traveled and the time and effort expended by the volunteer; whether the volunteer has agreed to be available around-the-clock or only during certain specified time periods; and whether the volunteer provides services as needed or throughout the year. An individual who volunteers to provide periodic services on a year-round basis may receive a nominal monthly or annual stipend or fee without losing volunteer status.

    (f) Whether the furnishing of expenses, benefits, or fees would result in individuals' losing their status as volunteers under the FLSA can only be determined by examining the total amount of payments made (expenses, benefits, fees) in the context of the economic realities of the particular situation.
    Last edited by ChiefKN; 12-29-2010 at 12:07 AM.
    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."

  18. #38
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    Im a volunteer......meaning I do not stay at the station for a 12 or 24hr shift like the part timers

    as a volunteer, I get "paid per run". My paid per run consists of minimum wage and is calculated hourly from...Time of Tone until Time available, plus 30 minutes

    the 30 minutes allows us to restock the squad, clean and roll hose, wash the trucks or whatever else needs done to get ready for next call.

  19. #39
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    Yea, point is I'm right and you are wrong. Note the consistent use of "volunteer".
    No, it means that there is a specific legal interpretation of "volunteer" for the purpose of applying FLSA. That's no more relevant than the IRS tax rules. Or OSHA regulations (OSHA, BTW, classifies "volunteers" as employees.)

    You're conflating specific legal jargon with common sense plain English.

    volunteer - a person who performs a service willingly and without pay
    You're reaching.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

  20. #40
    Forum Member DeputyMarshal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nrembis View Post
    as a volunteer, I get "paid per run"
    Then you are not a volunteer. You are a Paid-on-Call, part-time firefighter with voluntary hours.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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