1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Overtime in Communications

    We are trying to get an idea about how much OT other 911 centers require their dispatchers to work. We are a mid-sized center in Upstate NY. We have a total of 52 employees: 6 supervisors, 37 dispatchers (one position is unfilled) and 9 part timers. We work a combination of 8 and 12 hour shifts. Three dispatchers work 6a-2p, three on 2p-10p and three from 10p-6a. These are 5 on 2 off shifts so that there are two 8 hour people here a day. Everyone else works either 6a-6p or 6p-6a, except for two "overlap supervisors" who work 12p-12a. Minimum staffing is between 9 and 11 depending on time of day.
    In July we had 1620 hours of time to be covered. After the part timers took their shifts, each full time dispatcher needed to cover an average of 27 hours of overtime. On top of this, each full time dispatcher is assigned two "on-call" days that last 12 hours and they are required to report to work if they are called.
    How much overtime do other centers require employees to cover? We realize that OT is part of the job, but, it comes with a price. Any information you could give on how you handle OT or how much you have on average would be a big help to us.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    MrJim911's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002


    We are smaller then you, we have a little more then half the number of Dispatchers you have. We all work standard 8 hour shifts. We do not utilize on call or part timers.

    OT isn't "required" at my agency. If you don't want to work OT, then don't sign up for any. The result or exception to doing that happens when there is OT that needs to be covered and for whatever reason no one signs up for it. The supervisor handling that shift then does a OT tally (weeks ahead of time) of every employee (including Supervisors) to see who has worked the least amount of OT in the past month. Whoever that is gets the OT "forced" on them. They have to work it unless they find someone to work it for them.

    How much OT there is completely depends on sick calls, vacation time, personal time, etc... used at any given time. Summer always sees more OT because more people take time off. (We are currrently at full staffing so this cuts down on OT as well)

    We have a policy that only 2 people can request the same day off; it is easier to maintain minimum staffing this way and it cuts down on OT.

    How last minute OT (usually the result of a sick call) is covered is a whole other situation.
    Someone once told me that time is a predator that stalks us all our lives. But maybe time is also a companion who goes with us on our journey, and reminds us to cherish the moments of our lives because they will never come again.

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    nmfire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Maryland (DC Suburb)


    We have 4 full-time and a hand full of part timers. There is clearly a need for more of both when one person can work 60+ hours of OT in one week and there is still plenty to go around. Dispatchers can be ordered in for the shift leading up to or after their regularly scheduled shift if nobody wants to take the open shift.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2006

    Default Overtime

    I want to make a point. If there is that much overtime then someone needs to start doing the math and start hiring more people. It would be le expensive to hire 10 more people than pay out all that overtime. Not to mention the overtime created from overworking into fatigue related illnesses.
    That is how I got more people on staff at my center.

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default The Math

    Quote Originally Posted by 911employee View Post
    We are trying to get an idea about how much OT other 911 centers require their dispatchers to work. We are a mid-sized center in Upstate NY. We have a total of 52 employees: 6 supervisors, 37 dispatchers (one position is unfilled) and 9 part timers.
    Here's how you do the math: an FTE is equal to 40 hours. To staff a 40 hour position 7 days requires 1.4 FTE. (56 hours) Mulitply 56 times the number of positions you are trying to fill. You need to have at least enough productive hours* available to fill that. Otherwise, it's OT

    Not to mention if the part time employees are working 40+ hours, 29CFR, Part 1620 kicks in, if any of the Part time employees are protected classes. Example: Male employee working 50+ hours, with full benefits, Female employee forking 50+ hours, no benefits.

    *For a full time employee: 2080 hours a year less professional, vacation, holiday, and potential sick time / divided by 52 time total number of FT employees. I have an excel spreadsheet that does this if you want it. Post the breakdown FT/PT if you want me to plug in the number for you.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    La Crosse, WI


    We've got 22 dispatchers & 5 supervisors with no part-timers, working 8 hr shifts on a 5 days on/2 off - 5 on/3 off pattern. We don't have regularly scheduled OT. Our OT is usually due to someone being sick. In those cases, we try to cover a full shift with one of our off-duty people, but, if that doesn't work, we split the shift between those working before & after. If none of those volunteers, we force the one who hasn't worked OT the longest. Occasionally, we will have advance notice on OT, usually from being below 22 & 5. In that case, we post the time and let people volunteer for either the full shift or either half (full shift gets preference), and seniority prevails in that case.
    Joe O'Keefe

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Oct 2007


    I am not a current dispatcher, I am in the process of completing my back ground investigation. The Columbus Division of police has at least 15 dispatchers on at any time. They require a minimum of 12 hours of overtime a week. This is a bare minimum and most dispatchers work 20 hours of overtime.

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