Employees who work as paramedics, EMS workers or ambulance personnel are often required to work off the clock or work 24-hour shifts. These employees also have FLSA protections under the labor laws. Under the FLSA, EMS employees who are performing only medical services should normally receive their overtime rate after 40 hours.
Case in point
Five paramedics in South Carolina have filed a lawsuit against the county for overtime wages.
The lawsuit claims the employees did not receive overtime pay as required by the Fair Labor Standards Act. The wage lawsuit also claims the EMS workers were only paid for 20 hours of each 24 hour shift, even though they were required to be on site during the entire shift.
If you are a paramedic, EMT worker or part of an ambulance team, you are probably eligible to receive your overtime rate under the FLSA.
Fire protection or law enforcement activity exemption
Employees employed by a public agency in fire protection or law enforcement activities are subject to an FLSA overtime exemption, but this exemption only applies to paramedics who have received training in the control, extinguishment or prevention of fires.
“Fire protection activities” means an employee, including a firefighter, paramedic, emergency medical technician, rescue worker, ambulance personnel, or hazardous materials worker, who:
- is trained in fire suppression, has the legal authority and responsibility to engage in fire suppression, and is employed by a fire department of a municipality, county, fire district, or State; and
- is engaged in the prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires or response to emergency situations where life, property, or the environment is at risk.