Paramedics and EMTs: One surprising fact about your exemption status.
Paramedics, or emergency medical technicians (EMTs), are usually required to be on call and ready to leave to the scene of an emergency at any hour of the night. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has a section that highlights how paramedics and EMTs should be paid and if you work in this industry you will find out one surprising fact about how on-call paramedics and EMTs should be paid by reading this article.
Usually, paramedics and EMTs receive an hourly wage and, unless they are exempt under the laws, should also receive one-and-one-half times their regular pay rate if they work more than 40 hours a week. However, the FLSA has clear guidelines for this industry and paramedics/EMTs do not generally fall under that exemption.
Are paramedics and EMTs exempt under the wage and hour laws?
One surprising fact is that many employers make their employees believe that they fall under an exemption and, in this way, avoid paying them overtime pay. However, the FLSA states that you are eligible for overtime as an ambulance or rescue service employee unless your work is “…substantially related to firefighting or law enforcement activities…”
This means that if you work more than 40 hours a week as a paramedic or EMT you should generally be compensated for those hours at 1.5 times your regular rate of pay under the wage laws.
Recent wage investigations on behalf of paramedics and EMTs
There have been several recent investigations into emergency medical service companies for their pay policies. One common claim among employees at these companies is that they do not receive any overtime pay until they reach a certain amount of hours, like 42 hours a week or 96 hours in two weeks. This violates the federal wage and hour laws, which state that any hour(s) over 40 in a week should be compensated at a premium of time-and-a-half.
How employers drain your pay during 24-hour shifts.
In a recent wage and hour lawsuit, EMT workers allege that employers only paid 20 hours of each 24-hour shift, though the employees remained on site and on-call for the shifts.
One easy way to know if you are exempt as a paramedic or EMT.
Make one phone call to our employment lawyers at 888-449-2068 to determine your proper overtime status. We will review your case for free to determine how you should be paid under the laws. If you are a paramedic or EMT worker you are probably eligible to receive your overtime rate under the FLSA. Send us a contact form to find out if you are owed money under the FLSA.