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Public Employees

Public Employees

The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires that overtime compensation be paid at one and one-half times the employee’s regular rate of pay. Since 1986, when the US Supreme Court ruled that overtime pay be paid to government workers, municipalities have been trying to find alternatives to paying out overtime wages or to avoid paying overtime at all.

If an employer violates the provisions of the FLSA they could be responsible for:

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For legal help in Cook, DuPage, or Lake County, call the Fair Labor Standards Act attorneys at Donald W. Fohrman & Associates.

On Call Time

It is not uncommon for public safety workers to be on-call during off duty hours. Whether they are entitled to receive overtime pay for their on-call time depends on the restrictions the employee is under during the on-call period. If the on call period is to the employer’s benefit, then overtime should be paid.

The following is taken into consideration to determine whether an on-call employee is entitled to overtime pay:

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Meal Time

For many fire and first responder employees, they are required to stay at work during meals. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act an employer can only deduct time during meals if:

Each one of these circumstances must be met in order for the employer to deduct meal time.

Firefighters and Police Officers

Under the FLSA, firefighters and rescue workers who work more than 53 hours a week are entitled to overtime pay. Some firefighters and rescue personnel may be exempt from overtime pay in certain situations:

Certain standards are applied by the courts to determine whether an employee is exempt from receiving overtime pay based on the above.

Emergency Medical Service Workers

Any public employee not in fire protection, must be paid overtime for any hours worked over 40 during the work week. In order to avoid paying overtime to Emergency Medical Service workers, employers will often classify them as firefighters. Classifying them as firefighters would delay the payment of overtime to after 53 hours per week. In order to classify an EMS as a firefighter, the EMS must meet the following:

If an EMS worker does not meet the above criteria, they must be paid overtime for any time worked over 40 hours.

Arson Investigators

An arson investigator employed by a public fire department is entitled to over time pay for any hours worked over 40 or 43 (dependent on whether the investigation involves law enforcement duties such as executing a search warrant or making an arrest.)

Public Dispatchers

A dispatcher employer by a municipality is entitled to overtime pay for any time worked over 40 hours in a work week. However, if the dispatcher’s job responsibilities include law enforcement or fire protection, then the dispatcher would be paid overtime after 53 hours worked in a week.

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If you have any questions concerning overtime pay, contact our Chicago office at 312-661-0450 and speak with an experienced FLSA attorney. You can also complete the free case evaluation form on our website.

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