1. #1
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    Default Way to go Hot Rod!

    This is great news for the volunteer fireservice. My hat is off to all the legislatures and the governor.

    Gov. Blagojevich signs Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act

    New law protects jobs of volunteer firefighters who are late or miss work while responding to emergency


    SPRINGFIELD - Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that ensures volunteer firefighters won’t lose their paying jobs simply because they were late or missed work while performing their duties.

    "In many communities around Illinois, volunteer firefighters are our frontline first responders, the ones local residents depend on to fight their fires and perform life-saving emergency medical services," Gov. Blagojevich said. "But most of these volunteers also work paying jobs to provide for their families. They shouldn't have to worry about losing their jobs simply because they're providing a critical public service."

    House Bill 4851, sponsored by Rep. Mike Boland (D-Moline) and Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton), creates the Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act. The new law says employers of volunteer firefighters in communities with 3,500 people or less cannot dismiss the firefighter for being late or absent to work because he or she was responding to an emergency that occurred prior to the start of the workday. A volunteer firefighter who is terminated in violation of the Act may bring a civil action against the employer by seeking reinstatement to the position, payment of back wages and reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights.

    "The people we rely upon who volunteer to protect our communities shouldn't have to worry about losing their job if they go to help put out a fire. These individuals give of their time and put their lives on the line to protect all of us. This law is the right thing to do to help those who are potentially making the ultimate sacrifice for our communities," said Senator Forby.

    "Volunteer firefighters are an important part of the fire services, but it can often be difficult to recruit and retain them because of obstacles such as this," said State Fire Marshal J.T. Somer. "Steps like this that help them protect their financial livelihood while serving their communities should encourage more volunteers to stay on, and benefit everyone in the community."

    "The Governor signing HB 4851 will help to attract and retain volunteer fire fighters who are so crucial to our rural communities," said Rep. Boland. "No volunteer fire fighter risking his or her life responding to a fire or emergency call should ever have to worry about being fired because they are late or miss work due to their response."

    HB 4851 is effective immediately.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

  2. #2
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    Bones42's Avatar
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    Default Sneaking into Illinois....quietly.....

    HB 4851 will help to attract and retain volunteer fire fighters
    Yee Haw! I'm going to join a fire department cuz I can be late to work! Yup, that makes me want to join.

    I understand the reasoning and true purpose of this law, just thought that part was funny.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    Bones, you can only be late if the chief says you can be late.
    I don't think it'll help us get more FFs. Nobody will join just because they don't have to be afraid to be late for work if they're at a call. BUT, I have personally had to stick up for several of our guys on more than one occasion because they were late. Some still got "points" on their work records. This bill will indeed help out in that respect.
    Jack Boczek, Chief
    Ashley Community Fire Protection District

    FLATLANDERS FOREVER!

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    Default Re: Way to go Hot Rod!

    Originally posted by jboczek

    House Bill 4851, sponsored by Rep. Mike Boland (D-Moline) and Sen. Gary Forby (D-Benton), creates the Volunteer Firefighter Job Protection Act. The new law says employers of volunteer firefighters in communities with 3,500 people or less cannot dismiss the firefighter for being late or absent to work because he or she was responding to an emergency that occurred prior to the start of the workday. A volunteer firefighter who is terminated in violation of the Act may bring a civil action against the employer by seeking reinstatement to the position, payment of back wages and reinstatement of fringe benefits and seniority rights.

    I have 2 questions regarding this........

    1. Why is it limited to those communities with 3500 people or les???

    2. It says you can't be dismissed, but does that mean they can still issue written/verbal warnings and such?

    (Just to clarify, I'm just going by what was in the article.... I have not read the actual law)

    I don't believe the one we have in Ohio is limited by population size and I believe it says they cannot discipline you AT ALL. They don't have to pay you for the time, but they cannot hold it against you.....

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    that is a good question......I know it is limited to cities with 3,500 or less.......we are a county department that covers about 280 square miles....so we all live in different towns......the one I live in is about 15,000....but many of our guys live in towns of 1,100 or less......so i guess the law will only apply to part of our department?.....OR cause we cover such a huge area that NO ONE qualifies?......I agree...it is a good law.....but i don't think the size limit was a good idea......just because your city is larger does not mean you have more firefighters to help cover....which is one of the things I am sure this is aimed at... i guess it is like most laws.....has good intentions...but is very poorly wrote

    maybe it will not affect as many as I think it will since i belive we are one of if not the largest Volunteer district in Illinois


    there is my .02 for what it is worth

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    Cool

    Hey guys. Just for your information I have been talking with Rep. Mike Boland who sponsored this bill. One of the things that we have been talking about is that, while it is great that we can be late for work if we need to, how about time off to make training. What we have proposed to him is to make it mandatory that employers would have to give firefighters time off (just like the military)for training, even if you had to use your own time. I have been recieving some very positive feedback from not only my local departments, but also from Rep. Boland's office! Let me know what you think of this and if we can back it as the Illinois Fire Service
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    lvfd:
    In an earlier version of the bill that I looked at, I thought that it contained just such a provision.
    Don't know what happened to it. I think it got chopped because someone powerful didn't like it in the bill.
    It makes good sense to allow volunteers time off for training without penalty, but with proof that the training was attended. Most of the very good classes that I have seen scheduled through IFSI falls during the week when most of us are at our other jobs.
    Like some, I am concerned that there will be a certain element that will try and take advantage of it. I would have a problem giving someone time off who already has an attendance problem.
    And believe me, if an employer really wants to get rid of an employee, there are a 1001 ways to do it...legally.
    The spirit of the bill is well intended. But it's not a fix all.
    CR
    Last edited by ChiefReason; 08-29-2004 at 09:43 PM.
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    CR

    I never saw any of the early drafts, however there is nothing on the website that shows anything was cut out. That I could find anyway. Yes, I agree with some of the concerns. But like anything we are going to have to police ourselves. As with any business, you are always going to have those types that will be looking for any reason to get out of work instead of using the training for what it is for. We have those types in the fire service and we always have, just like they are in all types of business. Eventually they always manage to weed themselves out...it just takes time.

    The big thing is that as we firefighters, both paid and volunteer, are being required to obtain more and more training, then society and business are going to have to concede somthing. Paid firefighters get most (and I say most) of their required training on the job. We volunteers, however, are forced to miss out on a lot a good training because of work. If something doesn't happen to let vols off for training, we are going to lose a lot of departments! Not just firefighters, but departments! And then who will the businesses find to protect them.

    Just my thoughts
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    IVFD I agree with the training issue....my question is this?....maybe u can get a answer....why was the population put at 3,500?......we have several dept's in our area that this bill does nothing for....including ours...Refer to my post above....would be way better if it was Vol. Dept's period.........just because you have more population does not mean you have more Vol's to help



    any thoughts?

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    I have not been able to find any reason why they went with a population of 3500. And I completely agree with all of you on this issue. My old department was in a community of 7000, so this bill helps no one there. The ONLY reason I could even remotely think they went with 3500 pop. was a manpower issue. Which, in reality, we all know is BS. Right now I an on a dept. in a community of 800. We have 20 on our roster, and on an average structure fire will get 12. On my old dept. we had 45 members and I know for a fact of several structure fires we fought with 12. This is something that they need to work on also. But, sometimes in the Fire Service we have to prove ourselves. Maybe we are going to have this Law ride for a bit at 3500 until we prove that depts. with pop. over 3500 need it too. Thats where we need help from the vols north of I-80 to help opush it through.
    Stay Safe.
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    Never forget our fallen brothers
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