Firefighters and the FLSA Cycle

BW Printworks

Fire and EMS Shift Calendars
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Firefighting and the FLSA Cycle

Have you ever wondered what the FLSA cycle is and what it means to Firefighters? Why is the cycle different for every department?

The purpose of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) cycle is to ensure Firefighters earn the overtime they are entitled to. For general workers this threshold is over 40 hours a week. For Firefighters it equates to greater than 53 hours a week.

A City/Department typically chooses a cycle that is an creates an even number of work days per shift. This cycle is required to be between 7 and 28 days. The easiest way to determine your cycle choices is to find how often your schedule rotates. For instance if you work a 48/96 schedule, it has to be a multiple of 6 (12,18, or 24); 3/4 is 9 (9,18, or 27); 1/2 is 3 (9,12,15,18,21,24, or 27).

For example using the 48/96 work schedule and a 14 day pay period:

The 18 day work period maximum hours as defined by FLSA is 136 hours. Every hour worked over this amount is considered overtime. However, FLSA allows for Cities/Departments to spread it across the year (ie 112 hours per two week pay period).

Here is the breakdown for hours per pay period:

365 days/18 day work period = 20.277 work periods in a year.
20.277 work periods * 144 hours actually worked = 2919.888 hours worked in a year
365 days/14 day pay periods = 26.071 pay periods in a year
2919.888 hours worked in a year/26.071 pay periods = 112 hours per pay period.

Now for the FLSA overtime:

365 days/18 day work period = 20.277 work periods in a year.
20.277 work periods * 8 hours of overtime (144- 136) = 162.216 hours worked in a year
365 days/14 day pay periods = 26.071 pay periods in a year
162.216 hours worked in a year/26.071 pay periods = 6 hours of 1/2 time per pay period.

They already pay you the straight time for the hours worked, so they only owe you the additional 1/2 time. Each check should have the equivalent of 6 hours of 1/2 time.

This formula is regardless of schedule. You can plug your own work cycle and pay period numbers in and should get a similar result. For convenience, I listed the FLSA work period Max hours from DOL below.

Joe Barna
www.bwprintworks.com

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Maximum hours standards
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Work period (days) Fire (1st Column) Law (2nd Column)
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28............................................ 212 171
27............................................ 204 165
26............................................ 197 159
25............................................ 189 153
24............................................ 182 147
23............................................ 174 141
22............................................ 167 134
21............................................ 159 128
20............................................ 151 122
19............................................ 144 116
18............................................ 136 110
17............................................ 129 104
16............................................ 121 98
15............................................ 114 92
14............................................ 106 86
13............................................ 98 79
12............................................ 91 73
11............................................ 83 67
10............................................ 76 61
9............................................. 68 55
8............................................. 61 49
7............................................. 53 43
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