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  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Question can you vol. your time

    We are currently seeking more info on the this subject matter....which is....can you Vol. your time at a department that you work full-time for.... my problem is... once you start vol. where do you draw the line between career/vol. They want us to do standby's at football games, etc. for free and if we end up getting a pt then they'll pay us...

    So they want us to come in on our off days. our shifts are 24 on and 48 off..... they also want us of vol. our time to do our own PR work...


  2. #2
    Senior Member Smoke286's Avatar
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    Legalities and regulations aside, anyone who does is a fool

  3. #3
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    I believe the key piece of information missing is how many employees in the fire department.

    If you're over 5 (or is 5 or more?) the Fair Labor Standards Act non-exempt from overtime kicks in for Fire Departments. (Below 5 employess firefighters may be treated like salaried instead of hourly employees)

    Standing by with the ambulance at football games is essentially the same work as standing by with the ambulance at the firehouse. If you're paid to stay at the firehouse to man the ambulance if needed, they gotta pay you to stay at the football game to man the ambulance if needed.

    The act: http://www.dol.gov/esa/regs/statutes/whd/0002.fair.pdf
    Also an attorney's site at: http://www.flsa.com/

    Could you volunteer for your employer? There are situations it is allowable, but as an employer I'd want to make sure it's well documented to protect myself from a possible lawsuit, if I allowed it at all. A scenario I could see is if some firefighters wanted to volunteer time to restore old apparatus and equipment for display in the department's lobby. If restoring old equipment isn't an activity expected of them, isn't an activity they're paid to do, and it's real clear there isn't any coercion to volunteer or penalties for not volunteering, then it's conceivable an employer could let them volunteer their time.

  4. #4
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Good points Dal. I remember a time not so long ago where members of a fire department near me were coerced into being Paid on call firefighters on their days off. For no overtime etc.. The town in question is now subject to paying a TON of back pay for not following FLSA.

  5. #5
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    The people that would volunteer for this should be "strongly discouraged." Then if anything comes down as an "order" you have flsa to fall back on.

  6. #6
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    Volunteering to support your paid job, bad idea. It is unbelievable that they would even ask you to do this.
    You do not have to, and according to FLSA and Federal Dept of Labor regs, you have no obligation to work without compensation. If you are a salaried person, they can make you work. If you are hourly in some way, as most firefighters are, you don't have to go.
    IAFF would have a lot of fun with this one.
    It's better to leave the volunteering to the vollies, unless you choose to also be a vollie.

  7. #7
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    I second everything that's been said.

    I have been in that exact same position. Besides the football games, we were required to be on call 24 hours of our 48 off, without compensation unless we caught a run. Among a bunch of other issues, an employer has to compensate you for being on call (even if it's just $10 a day) if they limit your movement AND pay you for the time you get called in. We had to stay within five miles of the station--bet you can't get very far away either, eh?

    Our situation got bad once a few young bucks got onto the department (myself included). We organized. They got ugly. We found better jobs before the issue was resolved.

    My advice? Consult a labor law attorney, call the IAFF, and don't DON'T DON'T start doing this until you know what the law says. It will be much harder to undo once you've already started doing it.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  8. #8
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    Default Wow, this is a bigger problem than I thought

    Silver City,

    Your story sounds almost carbon copy to ours where I work. Even though we had three shifts, or I should say, three men, instead of working 24 then 48 off we would work 7 daylight, off 3, 7 night turn off 4. This made for a three week rotation with three men covering one man on station 24/7/365. When you were on your 7 days on whether it be daylight rotation or night turn, we were expected to be within the borough for "on call" or "standby" to drive the 2nd truck out which is our ladder truck. Since we are a combo station, we had some volunteers help cover when we needed to leave. That all stopped when we unionized and had some disagreements with the volunteer chief. All the relief stopped. It made the job hell and we grieved it, taking it all the way to arbitration and won.

    Don't ever volunteer for your employer for ANYTHING. You WILL be setting a precident and a past practice which will make it very hard for you to win in court.

    Ed

  9. #9
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    We were expected to come in for call back for anything that required more than the on-duty crew, which was only two guys---you do the math...we got called in a lot, but we got overtime for callback.

    Their were eight paid guys, and out of courtesy, we would call on our days off if we were going to be out-of-pocket for any reason so the duty crew would have an idea of what to expect if the all-call went out. The chief went to far as to try and tell guys that they couldn't leave town because too many other people were already gone.

    So...you know what happened...we just quit calling. We were a dedicated bunch, but I couldn't help but think of the volunteers who only had to show up to a meeting once a month (with no enforcement) and show up on the 'good' calls. This, of course, was a leadership problem...I'm not bashing volunteers here.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

  10. #10
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    Default I am not that politcally correct, but...

    I am not bashing vollies either, just the bad ones that I have dealt with on a professional/personal level. It doesn't reflect where I work or my local's viewpoints. I started as a vollie and appreciate the work they do. The conflict begins when vollies are placed in the position of authority over paid personnel. Fact is that volunteers can not be held accountable for what decision they have arrived at when it comes to managing/disciplining or accusing career firefighters. They can just throw up their arms and say, well if you don't believe me, or take my word for it, than I will quit. (read take all my members and leave)

    I can't stand when that card is thrown by anyone, professional or volunteer. It just shows the lack of respect for what we are here for in the first place, PUBLIC SAFETY.

    BTW we got called in alot also, about 150 or more calls a year. We were compensated 2 hrs overtime minimum, but as you know, it is horrible to be tied down like that with no guarantee of pay, especially when its mandatory. Its just goes against my rights as an employee and my personal rights.

    We are very dedicated to our jobs, hell I have been working 50-70 hrs overtime each pay period just to keep the stationed manned while we fill one of our three slots. That means working 162 hrs minimum every two weeks!

  11. #11
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    Ahh..I see you are one of those "The vollies are OK as long as they are not in Charge" Kind of people. Thats Horses--t! I wish you could see the system and how it works down here. I amsure your views would not be so harsh towards myself or other volunteers. I am just as capable and competent as the next union guy in line.....I just chose to take a different career path than you did. And no, I did not FAIL a TEST or Get passed over for a job. I simply did not apply. I had little interest in making it a career. Does that make me any less competent to Ride as OIC with a career firefighter in the back? (Whom my training exceeds because of the failing state of his training academy) or should I just get in the bucket, layout , keep the canteen ready and make sure I am there to help pack the attack lines and fill his bottle so that he will say I am "Not a BAD Volunteer?" Jeez...and you said my views were distorted. Look man, I am with you when you say 1710 needs to be the standard, I am with you when you say Staffing needs to be higher than it is. But I am not with you when you think that I am any less capable simply because my paycheck comes from The GSA Police rather than the FD like yours. This is precisely the problem between career and volunteer firefighters!

    BTW...I also am with you when you say Union Guys should not volunteer within the jurisdiction they work in! (Sh-tting where you Eat is what I call it!)
    You Waste your time, YOUR LINE IS MINE!

  12. #12
    Senior Member Smoke286's Avatar
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    I was wondering how long it would take you to respond to this one CW, just out of interest, Do you post in the volunteer forum?

  13. #13
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    Personal attacks not allowed here.

    Thread closed.

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