Bill Introduced to Provide Fair Retirement Benefits to Federal Firefighters

Categories: The Insider

Federal firefighters put their lives on the line every day protecting our nation’s critical assets, including military bases and Veterans Affairs hospitals across the country. They work 144 hours per pay period. They are required to work weekends with no weekend differential pay and holidays with no special holiday pay. They are also the only federal workers mandated to work overtime in a normal tour of duty; unlike their state and local government counterparts, their mandatory overtime hours are not counted toward their retirement. 


To right this wrong, our union and allies worked to get a bipartisan bill introduced. The Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act, (H.R. 1255) introduced by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) and Jackie Walorski (R-IN), would allow for a more accurate and fair retirement calculation for firefighters working in the Defense Department, FEMA, VA, and other federal agencies in every state and overseas. 


“Firefighters are required to work into their retirement. They will split their life between the fire house and their home,” said Kurt Rhodes, chair of AFGE’s Firefighter Steering Committee. “It’s only fair to include mandatory overtime hours when calculating their retirement benefits.” 


“These courageous men and women work grueling hours in the most difficult of circumstances. It is our absolute responsibility to provide them with a retirement worthy of the sacrifices they have made in service to the United States,” said Congressman Connolly. 


“Thousands of federal firefighters across America – including many at Grissom Air Reserve Base in Indiana – risk their lives every day to keep people safe and protect our national security,” said Congresswoman Walorski.  “We have a responsibility to make sure they are treated fairly in retirement. The bipartisan Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act will ensure these brave and hardworking first responders get the full compensation and benefits they deserve.” 

Our union thanks Congressman Connolly and Congresswoman Walorski for introducing the much-needed bill. 


“Federal Firefighters are committed to keeping federal buildings and lands safe and put it all on the line for our safety. They should not be penalized for mandatory overtime,” said AFGE President J. David Cox. Sr. “Rather, federal firefighters should be fairly compensated for every hour they are required to work, and every hour worked should count toward their retirement benefits.”  


Are you a federal firefighter? 

Join AFGE and your fellow federal firefighters in fighting for fair compensation and a better working environment. We have secured major victories on the legislative front for firefighters over the past year and are excited to continue to work with bipartisan members of Congress this year. So join us today!

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