No Pay for Time Spent Sleeping

No Pay for Time Spent Sleeping

In a decision attracting widespread attention among city officials, the Seventh U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled recently that firemen in Elwood, Ill., have no rightful claim for pay for hours spent sleeping at the firehouse.

The decision punctuated the first court case of its kind according to the Municipal Finance Officers Association. The circuit court ruling reversed a lower court award of $276,619 to 53 Elwood firemen for time spent sleeping at the local ordnance plant fire station.

Firemen sleeping in the firehouse in order to be available for immediate duty are “waiting to be engaged,” and were not hired “to do nothing but wait for something to happen,” according to the higher court. The court decided that during the sleeping shift of their 24-hour stint at the firehouse, firemen should be paid only for time spent on emergency calls.

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