FLSA

Counting Vacation and Sick Time As Hours Worked

Today’s burning question: If a collective bargaining agreement requires a fire department to count vacation time and sick time as hours worked for overtime purposes, do these hours have to count toward hours worked for FLSA overtime purposes? Answer: No. The Fair Labor Standards Act only requires ...

Read More »

What Should A Salary Be Divided By To Determine Hourly Rate

Today’s burning question: Our city calculates our hourly pay by dividing our salary by 56 hours, not 53 hours. In other words, our hourly rate for overtime purposes is calculated by dividing the weekly salary by 56 hours. Shouldn’t they use 53 hours since the FLSA states that is the maximum allowable number of hours per week for firefighters?

Read More »

Part-Time Firefighters and the 207k Exemption

Today’s burning question: Our fire department recently hired its first full-time firefighters to supplement our volunteers and part-time personnel. Historically we paid our part-time personnel overtime after 40 hours a week. Our new full-time personnel have been designated as being subject to the 207(k) partial exemption...

Read More »

FLSA Retaliation – Why Go There?

Today’s burning question: I am a line battalion chief in a department that classifies all chief officers as white-collar exempt executives. As exempt executives we are not eligible for overtime. Our association obtained an opinion letter from a law firm that concluded line chiefs do not qualify as white-collar executives under either the traditional analysis nor under the 2004 First Responder Regulations.

Read More »

Chiefs, Overtime and Extra Compensation

Today’s burning question: We are losing senior instructors from our fire academy because they are being promoted to Battalion Chiefs (or higher), at which point we cannot compensate them to teach on their days off… not even straight time. I am told this is because they are exempt under the FLSA but cannot find any legal clarification that explains what is going on. Why can’t we at least pay these officers straight time to come back and teach on their days off?

Read More »

7th Circuit Rules on Compensation for Off-Duty Use Of Smartphones

In a long awaited decision the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Chicago in a case where police officers sought compensation for the off-duty use of their smartphones. Sergeant Jeffery Allen claimed he and his fellow officers in the Bureau of Organized Crime were required to use their smartphones to communicate while off-duty, but were not compensated for their time.

Read More »

Firefighter Overtime – The Blog

It is my pleasure to welcome my good friend and colleague Bill Maccarone to cyberspace with the creation of a new blog called FirefighterOvertime.org. Bill and I have been teaching the FLSA for Fire Departments program for the past two years, and Bill's plan is to pass along his accumulated knowledge – together with the latest in FLSA headlines – to firefighters everywhere.

Read More »

Are BCs Eligible for Overtime Under the FLSA

Today’s burning question: Are battalion chiefs considered to be exempt executives under the FLSA and not eligible for overtime? Answer: That is the key question in a recently filed suit out of Vancouver, Washington. Eight current and former Vancouver battalion chiefs are suing the department

Read More »

KCMO Facing Another EMS FLSA Suit

Kansas City, Missouri is facing another fire department related FLSA lawsuit over the way it pays its EMS personnel. The class action lawsuit claims that despite losing EMS related FLSA lawsuits in 2014 and 2015 that cost the city $3.5 million, it continues to miscalculate overtime for its EMS personnel.

Read More »

Does The FLSA Always Trump The CBA?

Today’s Burning Question: Can a collective bargaining agreement trump the FLSA? I heard the FLSA trumps everything, including a CBA. Answer: While the FLSA certainly can trump CBAs, that is not always the case. The best perspective is to consider the FLSA to be the floor below - which an employer cannot go.

Read More »

SC Firefighters Sue for Overtime After 40 Hours Per Week

Four former firefighters from the City of York, South Carolina are suing for $1.3 million in unpaid overtime under a rather novel theory. The men filed separate suits on March 22nd, 2017 claiming they are entitled to overtime for all hours worked over 40 each week based on the city’s personnel manual.

Read More »