News in Brief

Issue 5 and Volume 161.

FEMA to pay firefighters’ overtime The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will repay the Jefferson Parish (LA) Fire Department for more than $540,000 in overtime pay for its members’ work during the first two weeks after Hurricane Katrina. The agreement between U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (LA) and FEMA covers only Jefferson Parish, but Landrieu is asking FEMA to work with other Louisiana fire departments. She is working with FEMA to develop new reimbursement guidelines for future disasters. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, firefighters must be paid for every hour they are on duty. FEMA had reimbursed Jefferson Parish only for half of the accrued overtime pay because it assumed that firefighters were sleeping eight hours a day, and its policy is to limit overtime reimbursement to eight hours. However, the firefighters had worked 24 hours a day. March 26, 2008, Joe Gyan Jr. “FEMA to pay all of…

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