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gamewell45

Legislation passed protecting volunteer firefighters and EMT's

56 posts in this topic

Legislation protecting volunteer Firefighters and volunteer EMT's from disciplinary action resulting in either being late or not reporting to work due to a bona fide emergency to which they were dispatched.

The bill now sits on Governor David Patterson's desk awaiting his signature which would make it law within the state.

Thank's to FASNY for helping this bill to come to fruition.

For more information, click on the link furnished.

http://www.fasny.com/legislative-alert-jobprotectbill.aspx

citystation1848 likes this

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Legislation protecting volunteer Firefighters and volunteer EMT's from disciplinary action resulting in either being late or not reporting to work due to a bona fide emergency to which they were dispatched....Thank's to FASNY for helping this bill to come to fruition.

Great legislation for volunteers. Now a prospective employeer can refuse to hire an individual who is a volunteer or fails to disclose it on an employment application. I wonder if that was considered?

I wonder how fast one would be fired if because of a call they were late for there shift as a LEO, career FF, Health care worker or EMS employee?

The NYS courts have often held that a labor contracts will superceed this type of policy, will be interesting to see how this plays out. Do you think the Teamsters will risk a contract for one of their members to volunteer?

From FASNY's Website: "The bill, which,..... would prohibit an employer from immediately terminating the volunteer employee solely because he or she was late or missed work due to a bona fide emergency to which they were duly dispatched."

We need to know what the definitions are:

1) immediately terminating - does this mean the employeer has to wait till the 2 or 3 time?

2) define a bona fide emergency? An MVA? Fire call? We need to know what the definition is.

3) define duly dispatched? If FF X was not "dispatched" by name was he/she duly dispatched?

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Naturally there will be court cases that will set the interpretations of each gray area. Give it a year or so...

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Now what happens if I employ multiple vollunteers? Am I supposed to close down for the day because they have a fire?

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As I expected, the usual hysterics from the usual people who as a rule generally have issues with the volunteer fire service and anything that benefits them.

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Now what happens if I employ multiple vollunteers? Am I supposed to close down for the day because they have a fire?

Question; if your store or business is on fire and your protected by volunteers, would you rather they go off to work or show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

nycemt326 and SRS131EMTFF like this

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Question; if your store or business is on fire and your protected by volunteers, would you rather they go off to work or show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

Couldn't have said it better.

This is a problem that affects a lot of volunteer covered areas. If a run comes in during the day, most volunteers are at their job, leaving coverage minimal. Mutual aid might be there to help, if they aren't on a run themselves. When I was a vollie FF/EMT, I was fortunate enough to have a boss who was a vollie as well. He would allowed us to leave for runs and never scorned us for being late or leaving early.

This bill might not solve the problem 100%, but I see this as a good step in the right direction.

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Question; if your store or business is on fire and your protected by volunteers, would you rather they go off to work or show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

So my store or business is in Yonkers or White Plains or New Rochelle or Eastchester or NYC (on fire or not)....how does them running back to there village help my business? I think those business would rather they stay at work and volunteer on there own time....not company time.

How many volunteers commute to NYC or the other cities listed above and leave there communities unprotected? If this is so important, then maybe they should not commute out of the community.

Now what happens if your mom's in the hospital, I hope the RN or MD is not a volunteer who now can leave the job to cover a fire call, because you would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

The volunteer who works at the county jail, would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire or stay to protect the other DOC members and the public in general?

What about the medic who work for a municipal or commercial EMS service? Sorry he could not get to work on time and missed the call, but there was a call back at the VFD or VAC and that was more important.

Now we have volunteer firefighters who are employees of my career department. Does the legislation mean they can come to work late or leave work to cover calls back in their volunteer community? To cover them the citizens of my city will have to pay overtime to cover this. That means that my taxpayers (who are willing to fund proper fire protection) will be subsidizing a volunteer community that if they utilize this law (if signed) shows they are willing to let our taxpayers fund their dept.

Whats amazing is that tonight Albany is ready to shut down the entire state government, but this legislation sailed right on thru....................

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As I expected, the usual hysterics from the usual people who as a rule generally have issues with the volunteer fire service and anything that benefits them.

No hysterics, just lots of questions.

Nope, no problems with the volunteer fire service, the problem is when the VFS instead of managing its issues resorts to forcing others to support it.

As Chris put it; this is feel good legislation that will not make a dent in the problem, but the legislators who cant pass a budget and are all scared they will get thrown out in November hope that the volunteers will forget every other issue and support them because of this feel good legislation.

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This bill will have an economic impact, especially considering most volunteers are in the service industry (DPW, etc). And, the business taxpayer will have to pay twice. He pays taxes related to his business, and let's say one of his employees is a plumber, and he's a volunteer and goes to a fire and is gone all day. Now that business owner has to find a way to cover those customers that he had planned on that employee doing. If he can't, he's going to take a hit on the reliability of his company. What if he gets hurt on a fire scene or in an accident responding in a company vehicle?

I understand this is one way of staffing in these critical economic times, but the days of the "small town" are gone sadly.

As mentioned, is this going to affect the volunteer's employment? If the employer knows the person volunteers, are they going to hire them? I guess this will be similar to military service leave...

Take it from me, NYS Employment laws protect the employer, NOT the employee.

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Just like union legislation is drafted to support those who benefit from a union, this legislation is drafted to help those who volunteer. Just because it does not help everyone similarly does not mean it is bad legislation, just means it is used to help different people.

If you have a problem with this legislation then you are going have a hissy fit if you ever get into crop subsides and legislation which affects everyone here every damn day, not just if they are at work or not...

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That means that my taxpayers (who are willing to fund proper fire protection)

What is not proper about volunteer fire protection?

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What is not proper about volunteer fire protection?

[sigh]

Nothing at all is improper about volunteer fire protection. The way I read that is town A shouldn't be forced to subsidize the fire protection in town B. Town A pays all it needs to so that adequate fire protection is provided. Town A could very well be a properly staffed and equipped volunteer fire department; proper coverage is not predicated on paid or volunteer.

[/sigh]

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[sigh]

Nothing at all is improper about volunteer fire protection. The way I read that is town A shouldn't be forced to subsidize the fire protection in town B. Town A pays all it needs to so that adequate fire protection is provided. Town A could very well be a properly staffed and equipped volunteer fire department; proper coverage is not predicated on paid or volunteer.

[/sigh]

I can appreciate that argument. While being a volunteer myself I do not support this bill. The volunteer fire service should not be seen as having to be second class to a career service. I believe that this bill is to protect volunteers in more rural areas of the state where career fire departments are unheard of and fire protection fully revolves around volunteers. Fortunately in my village we are able staff apparatus through DPW workers aswel as school workers, there may be several others who work in the village and are also able to respond. Should these guys lose their jobs because they were providing a service to their community, IMO no, but this is up t their boss to decide not the government. However in most volunteer departments the members are considered employees of the municipality (not a fire district) therefore if one works for the municipality in another capacity they are not really leaving their jobs just doing something different.

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The biggest problem with letting people call to calls isn't so much the employer, it's the location of the job. So few volunteer firefighters actually work in the community they live / belong to. In a lot of the sleeper communities like mine, those guys that do work in our village either own their business, work on the railroad or work from home. For those that run their own business, they can't exactly leave every time the pager goes off, because that could lead to lost profits.

The guys on the railroad can leave, but they have to punch out, so that's money lost. (Unless this changed) Not to mention, in some of the facilities in Harmon Yards, the pagers don't go off.

And those that work from home, in some cases, double as parents. It's not exactly easy (or legal) to ditch the kids at home to go on a fire call.

I think this legislation may help some guys out, but in the grand scheme of things, it's exactly what Chris192 (I think) said - "feel good legislation." It sounds and looks great at first glance, but if your boss doesn't want you leaving or coming in late because of calls - he'll find a way to fire you - guaranteed. If you're vital to his operation and you constantly bail for automatic alarms or CO calls - he's not going to be happy.

Not a bad piece of legislation, but like most of them, there's loop holes.

MJP399 likes this

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So my store or business is in Yonkers or White Plains or New Rochelle or Eastchester or NYC (on fire or not)....how does them running back to there village help my business? I think those business would rather they stay at work and volunteer on there own time....not company time.

How many volunteers commute to NYC or the other cities listed above and leave there communities unprotected? If this is so important, then maybe they should not commute out of the community.

Now what happens if your mom's in the hospital, I hope the RN or MD is not a volunteer who now can leave the job to cover a fire call, because you would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

The volunteer who works at the county jail, would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire or stay to protect the other DOC members and the public in general?

What about the medic who work for a municipal or commercial EMS service? Sorry he could not get to work on time and missed the call, but there was a call back at the VFD or VAC and that was more important.

Now we have volunteer firefighters who are employees of my career department. Does the legislation mean they can come to work late or leave work to cover calls back in their volunteer community? To cover them the citizens of my city will have to pay overtime to cover this. That means that my taxpayers (who are willing to fund proper fire protection) will be subsidizing a volunteer community that if they utilize this law (if signed) shows they are willing to let our taxpayers fund their dept.

Whats amazing is that tonight Albany is ready to shut down the entire state government, but this legislation sailed right on thru....................

So my store or business is in Yonkers or White Plains or New Rochelle or Eastchester or NYC (on fire or not)....how does them running back to there village help my business? I think those business would rather they stay at work and volunteer on there own time....not company time.

If your store or business is in Yonkers or White Plains or New Rochelle or Eastchester or NYC (on fire or not) its not relevant because as I understand the law, the volunteer is not compensated for time lost at work.

How many volunteers commute to NYC or the other cities listed above and leave there communities unprotected? If this is so important, then maybe they should not commute out of the community.

I have no Idea how many volunteers commute to New York City nor am I aware of any survey's or polls regarding such. Perhaps if you have access to that information, you could share that with us??

Now what happens if your mom's in the hospital, I hope the RN or MD is not a volunteer who now can leave the job to cover a fire call, because you would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

Whether my mom's in the hospital or not is not relevent; either way I don't think by law, Nurses cannot leave their post until relieved.

The volunteer who works at the county jail, would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire or stay to protect the other DOC members and the public in general?

That's an extreme analogy; DOC members who are working would remain on the job until relieved.

What about the medic who work for a municipal or commercial EMS service? Sorry he could not get to work on time and missed the call, but there was a call back at the VFD or VAC and that was more important.

Again, that's an extreme analogy; the workers from the previous shift would remain on duty until relieved.

Now we have volunteer firefighters who are employees of my career department. Does the legislation mean they can come to work late or leave work to cover calls back in their volunteer community? To cover them the citizens of my city will have to pay overtime to cover this. That means that my taxpayers (who are willing to fund proper fire protection) will be subsidizing a volunteer community that if they utilize this law (if signed) shows they are willing to let our taxpayers fund their dept.

Not according to your IAFF; career fightfighters are not supposed to volunteer in their communities so its obviously a non-issue.

The real truth of the matter is that this bill goes a long way to assisst volunteers in serving their communities without fear of retaliation or termination for performing their duties as volunteer firefighters.

Everything you've mentioned is in all honesty a non-issue.

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This legislation may have some benefit but my concern is what if a business owner decides to fire an employee for being late from a fire and decides to challenge this law. The employee now is out of work and now has to fight to get his/her job back which could take time and money. Also, once again government is dictating to the private sector what to do. And as asked in a previous post will someone hire you if you are a volunteer? And I am surprised that essential jobs (dpw, ems, fire, police, corrections, medical) were exempt ( or were they?) I don't believe some of the comments made were anti-volunteer rather objectionable points of view.

Remember it is election year for state government. They narrowly passed a state budget yesterday that saved our state from shutting down which I do not believe would of happened and was perfect timing if you ask me.

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They don't have to challenge the law or anything. New York is what is called an "At will State." This means they really do not need a reason to fire someone.

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quote name='Bnechis' date='14 June 2010 - 08:37 PM' timestamp='1276562246' post='212685']

Now what happens if your mom's in the hospital, I hope the RN or MD is not a volunteer who now can leave the job to cover a fire call, because you would rather they show up to your store/business and put out the fire?

The law looks similar to my Union Contract as an RN. Our contract excuses "Reasonable Tardiness." Looking at, "the letter of the law" this only provides protection for being late; not walking out after accepting your assignment and being on duty. Until you show up, whoever you are relieving is on overtime if needed for proper staffing. So it doesn't look like it provides protection to leave the job to cover a call or from patient abandonment issues.

As to: We need to know what the definitions are:

2) define a bona fide emergency? An MVA? Fire call? We need to know what the definition is.

We are essentially dispatched only to actual or reasonably potential emergencies

3) define duly dispatched? If FF X was not "dispatched" by name was he/she duly dispatched?

If you are a duly sworn in and the rigs you are to respond to are dispatched... you have been dispatched

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This bill will NOT have an economic impact and will NOT cause a stir whatsoever so everyone can calm down. This has been on the books in CT for a while. It doesn't make a difference. It all comes down to your personal repoir with your employer. If you explain to them that you are a volunteer and that occasionally you may be late to work, and call them ASAP when it happens, and it happens rarely, there won't be a problem. If you abuse the system and are late a lot you will be fired and you won't have the money to defend yourself in court. How often does a morning fire happen in a Vol district? It really shouldn't have a huge impact on anyone.

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Until you show up, whoever you are relieving is on overtime if needed for proper staffing.

That does not work if you are not releving someone, as in positions that only work a float shift.

So it doesn't look like it provides protection to leave the job to cover a call

FASNY claims it does.

or from patient abandonment issues.

Good point, It is claimed that the law says an employer cant punish you, but if you abandon your position the DOH or State Ed can & will take your cert or license.

If you are a duly sworn in and the rigs you are to respond to are dispatched... you have been dispatched

If this were true then this law is not needed because all volunteers would have to show up to all calls, all the time.

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Bnechis what would you like to see done different with this bill?

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This bill will NOT have an economic impact and will NOT cause a stir whatsoever so everyone can calm down.

How can you possible say that it will have no economic impact when even FASNY says it will (they claim it will be minimal).

This has been on the books in CT for a while. It doesn't make a difference.

Then why is it needed?

It all comes down to your personal repoir with your employer. If you explain to them that you are a volunteer and that occasionally you may be late to work, and call them ASAP when it happens, and it happens rarely, there won't be a problem.

So my employeer has a 50 year old policy that says if you are late by 16-30 min you lose 1 days pay plus you must pay restitution for any overtime cost to the city. THis is for a 1st offense and it goes up from there. Yes I'm sure it will not be a problem our tax payers will understand.

If you abuse the system and are late a lot you will be fired and you won't have the money to defend yourself in court.

Yes more than 30 minutes on the 1st offense and a hearing officer may determine if this is "abuse" there may be an opening in the roster.

How often does a morning fire happen in a Vol district? It really shouldn't have a huge impact on anyone.

So agian I ask, Then why is it needed?

Edited by Bnechis

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Bnechis what would you like to see done different with this bill?

FASNY is very proud of this bill. It will prevent volunteers form getting jobs and will result in volunteers who utilize the law getting fired for there current jobs.

But at least the can say they have this great new law.

If your employeer is not willing to let you volunteer on his time without this law, how well do you think this law will work?

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Minimal impact, yes. That's the point I was trying to make.

As for all your othe points, you're talking about a labor (union) contract which was already stated would override this legislation.

It probably isn't needed, but it also doesn't hurt anyone because like I said before, coming in late for work because of a call should and will be delt with on a personal level with your employer.

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This bill is very important for someone like myself who is a SALARIED, NON-UNION employee. I do not get overtime when I work late, but yet, if I am late in the morning because I was on a call, I have to "make up my time". Has it ever had an "economic impact"? Absolutely not! Not to mention, where I work is in the Town where I volunteer and they own over 100 acres of tax-free property. I have never abused my volunteer situation at my job; I have even used my sick and vacation time to go on calls. Therefore I hope this bill passes.

As far as Town workers, I believe they are allowed to leave for emergencies, as long as they do not take advatage of it.

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The only people this law is likely to make a difference for are those who would likely seek to abuse the supposed protections it grants. It provides a cause for entitlement and defiance. If I'm working a job all night and can't make it to work I can always call in sick. Maybe it's a luxury in my profession, but I'd be surprised if most people didn't have sick time. And if I couldn't, I'd have to make it through the day somehow.

I think this law will only come up when someone is using it to essentially tell their employer to suck it, that they're going to do what they want whether it works for the company or not.

If attendance and promptness are so important that I needed to use this law to justify being late or absent then volunteering and my career choices are not really compatible and maybe some aspect of my choices needs to change. The employer shouldn't have to make any concessions for an employee because of the employee's choices, however I've found that when you're an asset to whoever you work for they are always, without exception, willing to work with you to accommodate your needs in some way.

SRS131EMTFF and helicopper like this

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The only people this law is likely to make a difference for are those who would likely seek to abuse the supposed protections it grants. It provides a cause for entitlement and defiance. If I'm working a job all night and can't make it to work I can always call in sick. Maybe it's a luxury in my profession, but I'd be surprised if most people didn't have sick time. And if I couldn't, I'd have to make it through the day somehow.

I think this law will only come up when someone is using it to essentially tell their employer to suck it, that they're going to do what they want whether it works for the company or not.

If attendance and promptness are so important that I needed to use this law to justify being late or absent then volunteering and my career choices are not really compatible and maybe some aspect of my choices needs to change. The employer shouldn't have to make any concessions for an employee because of the employee's choices, however I've found that when you're an asset to whoever you work for they are always, without exception, willing to work with you to accommodate your needs in some way.

Very well said!!!!!

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I think this law will only come up when someone is using it to essentially tell their employer to suck it, that they're going to do what they want whether it works for the company or not.

Tell me, how did you arrive at this conclusion?

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Do you honestly think that the state government would pass legislation that would put businesses in such financial jeopardy that they'd risk them going bankrupt? It's plain common sense.

I think there are plenty people in state govt that would pass almost anything in order to get re-elected. As said before, they cant pass a budget, which is actually important to EVERYONE, but can pass this which benefits a few.

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