Lofgren, Padilla introduce bill to increase overtime pay cap for wildland firefighters

SANTA CRUZ — California’s 2023 wildfire season might have been less drastic overall than previous years, but that does not mean the risk of wildfires has gone away. Every summer, federal firefighters will be on high alert to be prepared to respond whenever a massive fire breaks out.

However, there is a limit to how much firefighters are paid, which legislators have argued is not enough to compensate for the work they do. U.S. Sen. Alex Padilla and Rep. Zoe Lofgren introduced the bicameral Wildland Firefighter Fair Pay Act Thursday to increase overtime pay caps to allow U.S. Forest Service and Department of the Interior firefighters to receive higher compensation for their service.

The bill aims to increase the total possible take-home paychecks from General Schedule Step 10 to Senior Executive Service II, expand eligible employees to include National Weather Service meteorologists who deploy with firefighters for the hours they work on wildfires, and require a joint report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of the Interior, and the National Weather Service on the necessary staffing levels of wildland firefighting missions and incident meteorologists. It would build upon existing legislation, such as Padilla’s Wildland Firefighter Paycheck Protection Act, introduced in July to permanently increase wildland firefighter salaries.

According to a news release from Padilla’s office, approximately 20% of Forest Service permanent firefighter positions are currently vacant, which he attributes to the federal government being unable to compete with state and local fire department salaries.

Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! News Continue is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a Comment