Federal Fire Fighter Pay Equity Act
Federal firefighters have one of the most arduous and dangerous jobs in the country. While protecting our national interests on military installations, federal research laboratories, and veterans’ medical centers, federal firefighters work nearly twice as many hours as a regular civil servant while being compensated at a reduced hourly rate when compared to similarly graded federal employees. In i 998, Congress passed legislation intending to ensure Federal firefighters received a fair hourly rate of pay. While the 1998 law improved firefighter pay, it failed to hit the mark as today federal firefighters typically receive an hourly pay rate that is one-third less than other federal employees. The disparity doesn’t end with the hourly pay rates under current law, federal firefighters are the only federal workers that receive partial retirement credit for their regularly scheduled work shifts. This is due to the complicated formula, used by the government, to calculate pension benefits for federal firefighters. Firefighters employed by the Department of Defense are normally required to work 19 hours of mandatorily scheduled overtime per week, in addition to their 53 hours of non-overtime work. Because of this unique arrangement, federal firefighters receive only partial credit for work they are required to do, effectively denying them the pension credit they have earned. To correct these inequities, the Federal Fire Fighter Pay Equity Act would alter the number of shifts federal firefighters work, adjust federal firefighter hourly pay rates in line with other federal employees, and change the formula used to capture federal firefighter high-three salary average for the purpose of annuity determination, ensuring that a fire fighter’s pension is based on the full value of pay compensation received during their regularly reoccurring tour of duty.