Earlier today you may have seen a notice the Union sent out regarding increases in paramedic pay. These increases were secured as a result of an audit conducted by Gary Messing, our Chief Legal Counsel. The audit revealed that those getting cash back for medical and dental insurance have been deprived of overtime compensation.
Cal Fire L2881 ("Union") and the State have been meeting for months regarding the Union's contention that overtime was improperly calculated by not including in the regular rate of pay used to compute the overtime rate, medical and dental cash back to employees who have waived part or full insurance coverage. This is required by the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA").
Bargaining Unit 8 employees earn up to $130 to $155 per month taxable cash when they waive medical or dental coverage.
By agreement between the Union and the State, commencing in July 2018, these payments have been included in computing the regular rate of pay to determine overtime compensation. As a result, the overtime rate for these employees has increased by nearly $1.00 per hour for those receiving the maximum $155 of cash in lieu. This not only increases the unplanned overtime rate, but also adds to Extended Duty Week Compensation (EDWC). The significance of this is that the increase in EDWC is pensionable, increasing pensionable (PERSable) compensation by over $78 per month for those at the $155 maximum. For those working a 40-hour work week, the overtime rate will increase by up to $1.34 per hour for those receiving the maximum $155 per month (but does not impact PERSable compensation), because these employees do not work overtime that is part of their regular schedules.
Negotiations are continuing regarding back pay compensation.
This result is a product of the teamwork between the Union and its law firm Messing Adam & Jasmine. And there are other areas we are continuing to explore with respect to overtime pay practices and the State. We are only able to commit time and resources to these issues because of your membership and financial support.
YOUR union at work.