Part-Time Firefighter Overtime

Today’s burning question: Does a fire department have to pay overtime to a part-time firefighter who works more than 212 hours in a 28-day period?

Answer: Yes. The FLSA does not distinguish between full-time and part-time employees. Any non-exempt employee (i.e. any hourly employee) who works more than the maximum hours for the work period must be paid overtime. It does not matter whether the employer classifies the employee as full-time, part-time, or per diem.

Since firefighters can be required to work up to 53 hours per week (212 hours in a 28 day work period) for straight pay, the part-time firefighters would be entitled to overtime for hours they work beyond the 212 hour maximum. This assumes your department has adopted a 28-day work period. If the department has not adopted a 28-day work period, the department could owe overtime for workweeks where the part-time employee goes over 53 hours.

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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