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Thread: Paid Dept's.....Do you have home confinement while off injured or sick?

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    Default Paid Dept's.....Do you have home confinement while off injured or sick?

    We are required to stay home during our scheduled shifts while off injured or sick. Those caught not home are brought up on departmental charges. While our department cannot get funding for things such as new rigs or new firehouses(desperately needed! some houses are well over 100 years old!), the city does fund the hiring of an outside firm to go to members houses to make sure they stay home while off injured or sick.

    Do any of the larger dept's out there have such a policy? Has your dept tried implementing such a program, and was it fought off?

    I welcome any input you may have.

    Thank you.

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    Not in my department - those suspected of sick leave abuse are dealt with individually, not with a blanket policy such as your described.

    They pay a company to be "big brother" for personnel on sick or injury leave? Ridiculous.

    Our staff has told us that they recognize the difference between injury leave and sick leave. Someone with a broken leg obviously can't fill their role as a firefighter, but there's no reason to confine them to their homes in that case. However, aside from a doctor or pharmacy visit, those on sick leave (cold, flu, other illness) are generally expected to stay home, but they're not sending the Sick Leave Police out to verify.

    Is there really a problem with sick and injury leave abuse in your department that the staff feels the need to go to these lengths?
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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDFF View Post
    We are required to stay home during our scheduled shifts while off injured or sick. Those caught not home are brought up on departmental charges. While our department cannot get funding for things such as new rigs or new firehouses(desperately needed! some houses are well over 100 years old!), the city does fund the hiring of an outside firm to go to members houses to make sure they stay home while off injured or sick.

    Do any of the larger dept's out there have such a policy? Has your dept tried implementing such a program, and was it fought off?

    I welcome any input you may have.

    Thank you.
    Is it a city wide policy? Are other city departments checked on?

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    I do not know about Teachers or blue collar, but the Police do have a similar rule on the books. I don't think the Police pursue it as much as our dept does.

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    Never heard of anything like that. Leave abuse has always been a case by case issue. If you start to build a trail of abuse management can require a doctors note for the sick leave.


    Seems pretty stupid anyway to confine someone to home. There is a long way between sick enough that you shouldn't be anywhere near a fire scene, but not so sick that you can't get out of bed or leave the house.

    Has your department had an issue with firefighters taking sick leave to work a second job? I'm having trouble imagining the level of sick leave abuse that could justify hiring people to check on those taking sick leave.

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    We used to have that on the books, you even had to be in uniform to go to the Dr's office. But it's never been enforced as long as I've been on, they don't even call you at home. I don't know how they can possibly force you to stay home, any court would throw that out. they can't restrict you to your home. And they can only come after you if you are misusing sick leave. I think they're going to have a loser on this if you guys fight it.

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    My FD requires a a doctor's note if one is out more than three consecutive duty tours. If you are out in IOD or sick leave, you are not required to be under "house arrest".
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    We're required to be at home, on our duty day, when on either sick or injury leave. We don't have an outside agency check, that is left to our battalion chiefs. You will be checked on, sometimes twice in a day and, at any hour. It doesn't matter if you've never laid up or are a regular.
    If you don't answer the door you will be on departmental charges.

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    Jasper,

    Your policy sounds pretty strict. Couple of questions, if you don't mind:

    1. What if you're at the doctors office, pharmacy, etc?
    2. Is this part of your contract?
    3. Do you have a residency requirement? If not, you have on-duty BC ride out to your house in the middle of nowhere to check on you? This seems odd to me - like the administration would rather have them available for calls in the city.
    4. If you're on injury for say, a broken arm, you're still on house arrest on the specific days you're supposed to be working, but you can go out and about on your non-work days?
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    A policy like this usually comes about as a direct result of sick leave being abused.


    Within the last couple years there was a career FF who used sick leave to cover for him while he was in jail serving 60 days for DUI in a neighboring state. Would have gotten away with it had not the state police come to his workplace looking for him on other charges.
    Come to find out the mutt had multiple DUI's previously & had been an engineer without a drivers license for a couple years.

    this was down in Gonzo's state in a city thats had lots of issues in recent years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Jasper,

    Your policy sounds pretty strict. Couple of questions, if you don't mind:
    It is very strict, and extreme. Ask all you like.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    1. What if you're at the doctors office, pharmacy, etc?
    We are allowed to leave home, provided you notify your respective company officer that you are leaving home for the pharmacy, doctors office, urgent care, etc...all this means is that if you are going to leave home, you call the engine house to which you are assigned and notify the company officer working that you are going to the pharmacy, who will then make the notation in the company journal. In this day and age, I would have some receipts or prescriptions, just in case.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    2. Is this part of your contract?
    No. Strictly department rules.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    3. Do you have a residency requirement? If not, you have on-duty BC ride out to your house in the middle of nowhere to check on you? This seems odd to me - like the administration would rather have them available for calls in the city.
    Yes and no. Maybe, maybe not.

    Ok. We have had a residency rule for 90+ years. Recent legal battles have a "15 mile" boundary created but is being fought by the city. There is a court-ordered stay on the city firing any employee from living outside of the city proper, until the lawsuits are settled. Up until 1 JUL 2013, all employees for the city were required to maintain a city residence for the duration of employment. This is kinda new sh it for all of us, admin included, as this sick leave policy has been a policy/battle going on for years.

    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    4. If you're on injury for say, a broken arm, you're still on house arrest on the specific days you're supposed to be working, but you can go out and about on your non-work days?
    We have a light duty/return to work policy; I can't even begin to explain that to you. When I say shi t is fuc ked up here, right now, it is.
    If you are injured, LOD, and are unable to work "light duty", or are on extended sick leave, you are only required to be at home while you're paid. This means only on your duty day. Your two off days, or vacation days (another battle) work reduction days (another battle) it is just like any off day.

    Hope that makes some sense.
    Last edited by Jasper 45; 11-25-2013 at 11:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by islandfire03 View Post
    A policy like this usually comes about as a direct result of sick leave being abused.
    I use all of my negotiated for vacation days each year, when I earn them; does that make me a "vacation abuser"?

    I'm not trying to be an argumentative jerk here but, what is a sick leave abuser vs a non-sick leave abuser? We all know what they are, now just articulate that argument. Believe me, we've had this debate on the union floor many-a-time...give the argument, I'll give a rebut all. We may have to explain terms and benefits, for retirees, etc..., but this is a slippery slope debate.

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    Injury? No. Sick? Yes.

    Home visits are possible, but we have no residency requirement and only a few of us live in the city, so they're unlikely. I live about 4 blocks from the station and have never had one. If you get caught in public though, better hope you're at/in transit to the doctor/pharmacy, or you'll be in hot water.

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    We're not a large department but, we don't have any sort of "house arrest" policy. However, when we negotiated our last contract, we were able to get language that specifically allows for the use of sick time to care for a sick or injured family member.

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    We don't have such a policy, nor do we have residency requirements....... Any Employee on Sick Leave or IOJ is expected to behave like an Adult..... Don't call in sick to stay home and help at your VFD or work your side job.... On the other hand, anyone "abusing the system" is dealt with accordingly, there is no blanket policy that puts everyone in the same classification as the very few problem children......
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    Quote Originally Posted by FireMedic049 View Post
    We're not a large department but, we don't have any sort of "house arrest" policy. However, when we negotiated our last contract, we were able to get language that specifically allows for the use of sick time to care for a sick or injured family member.
    Federal FMLA laws state that one may use accrued sick or personal leave/vacation time to care for sick/injured/incapacitated family members.

    The City of Philadelphia used to send the Bn Chief responsible for the Bn that you live in (yes residency requirement) to your house to knock on the door, whether it was shift one or shift four of your sickness. I think I have heard that they relaxed that to the third shift of your sickness and that any sickness extending beyond two consecutive shifts requires a note.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jasper 45 View Post
    I use all of my negotiated for vacation days each year, when I earn them; does that make me a "vacation abuser"?

    I'm not trying to be an argumentative jerk here but, what is a sick leave abuser vs a non-sick leave abuser? We all know what they are, now just articulate that argument. Believe me, we've had this debate on the union floor many-a-time...give the argument, I'll give a rebut all. We may have to explain terms and benefits, for retirees, etc..., but this is a slippery slope debate.
    '

    Using your vacation is supposed to be just that . Time earned off shift for your own relaxation.
    Using sick days off for working a second job or other reasons besides caring for family members is time you are being paid and more than likely someone else has backfilled on overtime to cover your absence. If you are too sick to be at work while getting paid , then you should not be out playing golf or off on a hunting trip etc.

    Yes sick days are earned as part of our benefit package, but when the system has to pay overtime for you to be off while not sick then the system goes off the tracks and OT budgets get cut, then staffing gets cut , then brothers become unemployed permanently.

    Talk about starting down the slippery slope.

    The example given in my post above is the perfect example of sick day abuse.

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    We had a home visitation policy instituted for a short while, then they rescinded it. If on medical leave you were subject to home visitation at any time. If you wanted to go to doctor or pharmacy you had to call and request a window of time in which to do it. I don't know what percentage they visited, but it wasn't everyone. Hit or miss basically.
    We still have a program for those who are deemed to be medical leave abusers. You really have to work at it to get in that program. If you're in it, there's a good chance you belong there.
    No volunteering or side jobs ever when on medical leave.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    Federal FMLA laws state that one may use accrued sick or personal leave/vacation time to care for sick/injured/incapacitated family members.
    I believe you have to specifically request the time off from your employer under FMLA and it's geared more towards long-term illness/injury situations.

    Our language is more about short-term situations. Stuff like your kid is sick and somebody needs to stay home from work to take care of them or your spouse is sick and not able to take care of the kids. The intent was to protect our members from the types of stuff mentioned in this thread without using "FMLA time" for a wife or kid with the flu.

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    I'll ask again……1.Does your department have this home confinement rule?
    2. Has it tried implementing it? (If so…..see number 3)
    3. Was it successfully fought off?
    I didn't ask anyone, anything about volunteering, working a 2nd front, golfing, hunting or anyones opinion on what causes brothers to lose jobs.

    Thank you to those who stayed on subject and gave me their input.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BFDFF View Post
    I'll ask again……1.Does your department have this home confinement rule?
    2. Has it tried implementing it? (If so…..see number 3)
    3. Was it successfully fought off?
    I didn't ask anyone, anything about volunteering, working a 2nd front, golfing, hunting or anyones opinion on what causes brothers to lose jobs.

    Thank you to those who stayed on subject and gave me their input.
    Sorry that people used this "discussion forum" for "discussion". The subject leads other places, and generates conversation. Do you leave the kitchen table when a conversation veers off in a different direction?

    Don't like the extraneous discussion? Don't read it.

    BTW...

    We used to have it, but were able to get rid of it.
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    How did you get rid of it sfd?

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    We got rid of it probably 10-12 years ago.

    Admin wanted to make some minor changes to our light duty policy, we made getting rid of confinement a condition of that.
    Last edited by sfd1992; 11-29-2013 at 09:01 PM.

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    Home confinement? No.
    Sick leave abuse policy? Yes.
    Miss more than 72 hrs = Dr note.

    All were negotiated and in the MOU.
    I believe PD is different based on their 40hr work week vs. our 56.
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