Finally in the news this week, a look at how one EMS agency in North Carolina is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor for possibly violating fair labor practices in the employment of EMTs and paramedics there. They are looking back at the past two years and announced that they are looking at things like the use of Flex time and overtime practices.
EMS Employees Often Underpaid and Overworked
The Labor Department didn’t say why they were investigating, only that they perform periodic investigations and may be doing so either randomly or because of a tip from an employee. Right! The problem we face in EMS is that we’re underpaid and overworked and I think this leads to many misunderstandings about what our rights are with regard to how overtime is handled appropriately.
Since many of us work two or three EMS jobs just to make ends meet, it is often hard for us to keep track of how much we worked when and for whom. This puts us all at risk for getting taken advantage of by employers, either accidentally or intentionally.
Make sure you know your rights and responsibilities under the law and if you have a question, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification of the policies from your employer. They should be provided for you clearly in writing. If you still don’t understand there are resources at the state and federal level to help you understand how it all works. Make use of them.
I’ll keep on top of this and if anything comes from it, or a story like it, I’ll make sure to let you know.
Follow-up on the link for this and other news items as well as all of the additional resource links in the show notes for this episode – Diphenhydramine EMS Med Review and Episode 338.