Fire Law Podcast 32: Legal Implications of Corona Virus COVID-19 and Quarantine

In this episode, Curt and Bill Maccarone discuss the legal implication of the Corona Virus COVID-19 quarantine on fire departments and firefighters. Quarantine raises questions associated with sick leave, work-time, overtime, and workers compensation and all are discussed in the podcast.

29 CFR § 785.43 – Medical attention.

§ 785.43 Medical attention.

Time spent by an employee in waiting for and receiving medical attention on the premises or at the direction of the employer during the employee’s normal working hours on days when he is working constitutes hours worked.

RIGL § 45-19-1. Salary payment during line of duty illness or injury.

  • Whenever any police officer of the Rhode Island airport corporation or whenever any police officer, firefighter, crash rescue crewperson, fire marshal, chief deputy fire marshal, or deputy fire marshal of any city, town, fire district, or the state of Rhode Island is wholly or partially incapacitated by reason of injuries received or sickness contracted in the performance of his or her duties or due to their rendering of emergency assistance within the physical boundaries of the state of Rhode Island at any occurrence involving the protection or rescue of human life which necessitates that they respond in a professional capacity when they would normally be considered by their employer to be officially off-duty, the respective city, town, fire district, state of Rhode Island, or Rhode Island airport corporation by which the police officer, firefighter, crash rescue crewperson, fire marshal, chief deputy fire marshal, or deputy fire marshal, is employed, shall, during the period of the incapacity, pay the police officer, firefighter, crash rescue crewperson, fire marshal, chief deputy fire marshal, or deputy fire marshal, the salary or wage and benefits to which the police officer, firefighter, crash rescue crewperson, fire marshal, chief deputy fire marshal, or deputy fire marshal, would be entitled had he or she not been incapacitated, and shall pay the medical, surgical, dental, optical, or other attendance, or treatment, nurses, and hospital services, medicines, crutches, and apparatus for the necessary period, except that if any city, town, fire district, the state of Rhode Island, or Rhode Island airport corporation provides the police officer, firefighter, crash rescue crewperson, fire marshal, chief deputy fire marshal, or deputy fire marshal, with insurance coverage for the related treatment, services, or equipment, then the city, town, fire district, the state of Rhode Island, or Rhode Island airport corporation is only obligated to pay the difference between the maximum amount allowable under the insurance coverage and the actual cost of the treatment, service, or equipment. In addition, the cities, towns, fire districts, the state of Rhode Island, or Rhode Island airport corporation shall pay all similar expenses incurred by a member who has been placed on a disability pension and suffers a recurrence of the injury or illness that dictated his or her disability retirement, subject to the provisions of subsection (j) herein.

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 40 years of fire service experience and 30 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.
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