Appeals court gives back pay to Oregon firefighters

The labor commission in Oregon previously determined that firefighters who are from Grants Pass needed to be given at least $100,000 -- initial reports indicate that the number is higher than $100,000, though the true total was not given -- for back pay. This stemmed from a 2011 inquiry by Local 3564.

Basically, the inquiry revolved around how the amount of overtime pay that was owed would be calculated. Local 3564 wanted to know if the vacation time that had been authorized and the sick leave time that had been given out needed to factor in or not.

This is something that all firefighters in the area should be aware of because counting these days could make a huge difference in how many hours had to be worked until overtime pay should be given out. If the sick leave and vacation time do have to be counted, as the labor commission decided, it could mean that firefighters get into their overtime hours -- and the higher pay that they bring -- faster than they would otherwise. If firefighters were not paid accordingly for this time since vacations were not counted, they could legally be owed money.

That is the situation in which Local 3564 found itself, and the case went to the Oregon Court of Appeals. This court recently looked at the initial ruling and decided that they would uphold it, meaning that the firefighters will get the money that they were originally awarded.

However, as with other civil appeals, the town can go to the Supreme Court within 35 days of the ruling if they do not agree. If they do not go to the Supreme Court, they have until then to begin to give out the payments.

Source: Oregon Live, "Grants Pass firefighters OT, sick pay ruling affirmed by appeals court" No author given, May. 08, 2014

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