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  1. #1
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    Default FLSA and on call time question

    I was reviewing FLSA 29 CFR 553.221- Compensable hours of work- and had a few questions to run by you. I work for a department that has on duty (at station time) and has MANDATORY on call time. Now this on call requires me to be within twenty minutes of the firehouse. It also requires me to be in functioning zero tolerance BAC for operating all equipment. I understand the reason and this is not a complaint. My concern lies in that FLSA states: time spent away from employer's premise that resistricts the employee from using time for personal pursuit be compensated. Subsection d relates to an on call situation where a firefighter is "expected" to return to work as non-compensated time. Yet my employer "requires" that I return. I feel that "expected" and "required" are two different things. I also feel that the time/distance restraint prevents me from personal pusuits, for example if I wish to go fishing and have a beer, I would in no way or form be able to return to work, zero tolerance BAC and in twenty minutes. This is affecting my personal pursuits, is it not? My employer compensates correctly when we are recalled to the sattion, but I wonder your opinions on if all the on call time should be compensated because of inablility to use time for personal pursuits. Thanks


  2. #2
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    What would happen if you didn't come running when they called you? What language is in your contract about this situation? Our contract has specific language in it stating that a duty shift is no more than 24 hours, and shall be followed by 48 hours off. FWIW, I think your gut feelings are right on - it's a crock that you're being held hostage without compensation. I think you need to talk to a labor lawyer. Interestingly, I just did a Yahoo search on FLSA, and the first item at the top is an ad for a lawyer:

    SPONSOR RESULTS
    Unpaid Overtime? Ogletree Abbott LLP
    www.ogletreeabbott.com FLSA. Unpaid overtime settlements. Nationwide law firm.

    That sounds like the situation you're in - they're requiring you to be ready for duty, but you're staged somewhere other than the station. Whether they "expect" or "require" me to do that, if they don't pay me for my time, they won't get me.
    E-4-A
    IAFF 1176

  3. #3
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    thanks for the input. My opinion and yours sound the same. Thanks. I appreciate anyone else's interpretations.

  4. #4
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by eternalproby
    I feel that "expected" and "required" are two different things. I also feel that the time/distance restraint prevents me from personal pusuits, for example if I wish to go fishing and have a beer, I would in no way or form be able to return to work, zero tolerance BAC and in twenty minutes. This is affecting my personal pursuits, is it not? My employer compensates correctly when we are recalled to the sattion, but I wonder your opinions on if all the on call time should be compensated because of inablility to use time for personal pursuits. Thanks
    Are you a member of the IAFF? If so, please contact either your state association or IAFF headquarters. You may also want to contact your state Department of Labor. If you are required to return to work you MAY have to be paid. There are a lot of variables and it really takes a labor attorney to figure it out. If you are required to be paid for standby time, you may also be entitled to 2 or 3 years back pay for standby time.

    Sounds like your employer gets the benefit of additional personnel but only has to pay you when needed.
    Last edited by KenNFD1219; 08-24-2006 at 09:21 PM.
    -------------------
    "The most mediocre man or woman can suddenly seem dynamic, forceful, and decisive if he or she is mean enough." from "Crazy Bosses"
    -----------------------------------------------
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  5. #5
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    thanks again for the replies. Our department is not in the IAFF, but is currently pursuing it. the other thing we have working against us is that we do not have a formal contract. So in the event we attempt to seek legal action for lost wages, I believe all attorney fees will have to be paid by the employees and due to the lack of a contract all information will have to be supplied as statements or testimony. The biggest problem is not opening too big of a can of worms as we have no union protection and my state is an at will work state. Thanks for your input and help.

  6. #6
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    Default different profession, on call status

    My sister worked as an trauma/medical-surgical OR nurse at a hospital in Vermont.
    \
    She worked her normal shift and was on an "on call" status every other weekend in a rotation with other OR nurses. By on call, she had to be at the hospital within 30 minutes of being paged.

    She did receive OT if she was called in and a stipend for being "on call" and carrying the pager.

    Eternal Proby...

    Are you compensated for when you do get called in and at what rate?

    When my FD has a callback, it's a minimum of 4 hours of OT for each incident.
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

  7. #7
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    compensated at time and a half cause its in excess of the 216hrs in 28 days when called in, but its only a minimum of an hour call in. Neighboring departments do not have mandatory call time and are compensated at a minimum of 2hrs when called in. Arbitration.... here we come...

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by eternalproby
    compensated at time and a half cause its in excess of the 216hrs in 28 days when called in, but its only a minimum of an hour call in. Neighboring departments do not have mandatory call time and are compensated at a minimum of 2hrs when called in. Arbitration.... here we come...
    Good luck. I hate to see it when an employer is screwing over their employees. From what you're saying it looks like you are being screwed over. I'm not sure where in the country you're at, but in some states I've had the pleasure (uh, yeah, pleasure) of working in, you must be paid whenever you are required to return to work (i.e. on call). The actual amount varies and I'm relativly sure it can be a nominal fee, but regardless it must be an amount. I'm also not sure of the legalities of requiring you to be on call. It'd be a lot different if it were a voluntary system. How often do you have to be on call?
    Fir Na Tine
    Fir Na Au Saol

  9. #9
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    the on call time varies but usually 3-24 hr shifts a 28 day cycle.

  10. #10
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    Another option is to just suck it for right now, and make then make sure there is strong language in the IAFF contract when you negotiate it that takes care of this issue.

    Jon

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