Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, joined a bipartisan group in introducing the Federal Firefighter Flexibility and Fairness Act. This legislation would allow federal firefighters to engage in trade time, enabling two firefighters to trade shifts without affecting pay or using annual leave. The bill was also introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD).
“In communities throughout the nation, dedicated firefighters put their lives on the line every day to keep our loved ones and our communities safe,” said Senator Collins, Co-Chair of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus. “Federal firefighters protect some of our nation’s most critical assets and infrastructure. To better accommodate the uncommon hours these brave men and women work, our bipartisan bill would allow federal firefighters to trade shifts without affecting their pay.”
In 1985, Congress amended the Fair Labor Standards Act so that state, local, and municipal professional firefighters could engage in a practice called trade time. Trade time allows two firefighters, solely at their option and with the approval of their supervisor, to trade shifts without affecting the pay of either firefighter.
This change was made because firefighters work uncommon schedules involving 24 hour shifts and 72 hour work weeks, followed by a period of time away from the firehouse. Trade time enables firefighters to meet personal obligations such as attending a child's birthday or assisting a sick family member without exhausting their annual leave. It also ensures that firehouses across the country can maintain staffing requirements and keep our communities safe.
Click HERE to read the full text of the bill.