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New bills will benefit federal firefighters

Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and John Sarbanes (D-MD), supported by the IAFF, have introduce a pair of bills which aim to make historic changes on key issues for federal firefighters
Democrat Representatives have introduced bills progressing key issues for federal firefighters
Democrats introduce historic pair of bills for federal firefighters

With strong support from the IAFF, Representative Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and John Sarbanes (D-MD) have introduced a pair of bills that would make historic progress on two key issues for federal firefighters: retirement pay and trade time agreements.

Representative Connolly introduced HR 3186, the Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act, to adjust how retirement pay for federal firefighters is calculated by crediting toward retirement the full pay received for regularly scheduled overtime hours.

Currently, federal firefighters who work a 72-hour week receive time-and-a-half for the 19 hours of overtime worked each week, but their retirement benefit is calculated as if they were receiving straight time pay for this regularly scheduled overtime. HR 3186 reinforces the principle that retirement pay is based on pay earned during an employee's regular tour of duty.

Days after Representative Connolly introduced HR 3186, Representative Sarbanes re-introduced legislation, HR 3243, to allow federal firefighters to swap shifts, subject to management approval, without disrupting their overtime pay. Under present law, swapping shifts can impact the calculation of overtime pay. This legislation will make it easier for federal firefighters to trade time.

"These bills show our federal firefighters that our friends in Congress are fighting for them," says IAFF 16th District Vice President Jim Johnson. "There's no doubt that these bills, if they become law, will boost morale and strengthen firefighter recruitment and retention across the federal sector."

Both HR 3186 and HR 3243 are pending before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The IAFF is working to build support in Congress for both proposals.

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