NFFE Applauds Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Increase Overtime Pay Caps for Federal Wildland Firefighters
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Dorsey
November 14, 2023
Washington, D.C. – Today, the National Federation of Federal Employees (NFFE) praises the introduction of the Wildland Firefighter Fair Pay Act (S. 3221/ H.R. 6195). This legislation, introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) and Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA-18), would permanently raise overtime pay caps for federal wildland firefighters. The bill also directs federal land management agencies to submit a report on the resources necessary to support an expanded, year-round firefighting workforce.
“Every year, wildland firefighters courageously face life-threatening situations in order to protect American communities,” said NFFE National President Randy Erwin. “These selfless individuals dedicate endless hours to protect our nation, yet the existing overtime limitations often leave firefighters uncompensated for the full number of hours they are required to work.”
This act would increase the total possible pay from GS 15 Step 10 to Executive Level II, both per pay period and annually, averting the need to pay overages back to the government during the year or at a years’ end. The increased cap per pay period is critical for rank-and-file firefighters who work heavy hours during fire season and prescribed burns throughout the year. The annual cap increase is critical for senior level firefighters who also manage wildfires and emergency incidents. In addition to providing rightful compensation for hours earned, the legislation helps with the recruitment and retention of federal wildland firefighters, which stands at a 20% deficit across the workforce, and higher in areas where the cost of living is exorbitant.
“Thank you to Senator Padilla, Representative Lofgren, and the cosponsors for their commitment to our wildland firefighters,” continued Erwin. “Although long overdue, this is a positive step in the right direction to offer competitive pay for federal wildland firefighters. The federal government must make the necessary investments in our wildland firefighting workforce before we lose more professionals to private, state, and local fire departments. NFFE is proud to support this act in memory of the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, a staunch supporter of wildland firefighters and their families.”