Advocating for Atlanta Police and Firefighters in Overtime Pay Issues

You protect others — let our law firm protect you

If you are a public or private first responder working over 40 hours a week, not only is your employer required to track your work time (generally on a 7-day workweek basis), but the employer likely owes you overtime compensation as well. The “First Responder” regulation (29 C.F.R. §541.3) covers a broad range of those who protect us—police officers and sheriff deputies; firefighters; paramedics and EMTs; probation and corrections officers, park rangers, etc. Regardless of your rank or pay level, if your position requires you to perform work such as preventing, controlling or extinguishing fires of any type; rescuing fire, crime or accident victims; preventing or detecting crimes; conducting investigations or inspections for violations of law; performing surveillance; pursuing, restraining and apprehending suspects; detaining or supervising suspected and convicted criminals, including those on probation or parole; interviewing witnesses; interrogating and fingerprinting suspects; preparing investigative reports; or other similar work, you should be paid an overtime premium. 

DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC devotes our entire practice to employment law and labor matters. We proudly represent the firefighters, police officers and other first responders throughout Georgia, including:

  • Atlanta Police Department Arson Investigators
  • City of Atlanta Corrections Department
  • City of South Fulton Firefighters’ Union
  • City of Morrow Police Department
  • Clayton County Sheriff’s Deputies
  • Cobb County Firefighters
  • Coweta County Firefighters’ Union
  • Dekalb County Firefighters
  • East Point Fire Lieutenants & Battalion Chiefs
  • Fulton County Sheriff’s Deputies
  • Gwinnett County Firefighters
  • Haralson County Sheriff’s Deputies
  • Houston County Sheriff’s Deputies
  • Jasper County Fire and Rescue
  • Lifeline EMS
  • Newton County Battalion Chiefs
  • Rockdale County Battalion Chiefs
  • Rockdale County Firefighters’ Union
  • Union City Fire Department

Special FLSA overtime rules for First Responders

The FLSA provides that public employees engaged in fire protection or law enforcement may be paid overtime on a “work period” basis. A “work period” may be from 7 consecutive days to 28 consecutive days in length. For work periods of at least 7 but less than 28 days, overtime pay is required when the number of hours worked exceeds the number of hours that bears the same relationship to 212 (fire) or 171 (police) as the number of days in the work period bears to 28. For example, fire protection personnel are due overtime under such a plan after 106 hours worked during a 14-day work period, while law enforcement personnel must receive overtime after 86 hours worked during a 14-day work period (29 C.F.R. § 553.201(a); 553.230).  EMTs and paramedics who are cross-trained as firefighters and work for a public fire department, may also be paid on in the same manner as firefighters. Importantly, non-cross-trained EMTs and paramedics must be paid overtime based on a 40 hour work week.

Your position with a firefighting or law enforcement agency may also be subject to special FLSA rules, including the following:

  • Overtime exemption to public agencies that employ fewer than five workers who are involved in law enforcement or fire protection activities during a workweek.
  • Overtime may be based on a work period, which can be from seven to 28 consecutive days in length instead of the traditional 7 day work week.
  • For fire personnel, the overtime hours are calculated as 10.6 hours x the number of workdays in the work period.
  • For law enforcement personnel, the overtime hours are calculated as 8.55 hours x the number of workdays in the work period.
  • A state or local government agency may substitute cash with compensatory time of one and one-half hours for each overtime hour you worked, up to 480 hours of accrued compensatory time that you can use on the dates you request unless it would unduly disrupt your employer’s operations.

Fire protection personnel include firefighters, paramedics, emergency medical technicians (EMTs), rescue workers, ambulance personnel and hazardous materials workers. Regardless of the number of nonexempt tasks you perform, you are considered fire protection personnel if you meet the DOL definition. 

Other FLSA Issues for First Responders

Along with fighting for first responders' overtime rights, our firm is also committed to advocating for FLSA rights under the Georgia and federal employment statutes, including those involving such challenging issues as:

  • Discrimination
  • Harassment
  • Compensatory pay
  • Hours, breaks, sick leave, vacation time and wages
  • Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations

Get help with the special employment issues affecting firefighters and police officers

If you’re a law enforcement officer or firefighter, our attorneys are here to answer your questions regarding the employment-related matters that affect you. Consult with DeLong, Caldwell, Bridgers, Fitzpatrick, & Benjamin, LLC — we offer free telephone consultations. Our lawyers can be reached at 470-443-0524 or online. Our Atlanta office has convenient on and off-street parking and is ADA accessible.