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September 02, 2014
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Updated On: Mar 06, 2013


The federal government's retirement system uses a complicated formula to calculate pension benefits for federal Firefighters protecting military installations, veteran's hospitals, and other critical federal properties. The complexity stems in large part from the unusual work week of federal Firefighters. For example Firefighters employed by the Department of Defense normally work 72 hours per week, including 19 hours of regularly scheduled mandatory overtime.

In 1998, Congress reformed the pay system of federal Firefighters to ensure that they receive a fair hourly rate of pay. Despite improvements in the hourly wage rate, the reforms fell short of adequately incorporating a Firefighter's entire pay, including compensation for mandatory overtime, into a Firefighter's retirement benefit. Firefighters are the only federal employees to work regularly scheduled mandatory overtime, and are the only federal workers whose pension is based on only part of their normal weekly pay.

Legislation entitled the Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act (HR-471) has been introduced in Congress to address this inequity. We all are aware of the current environment on the Hill.  This legislation has a funding factor, knowing that, we should try and get as many co-sponsors as we can with the hope of getting a committee hearing so we can voice our position on this longstanding inequity.

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