If you are an EMT worker, you know an emergency can happen at any time. It doesn’t matter when or where, your next patient is only a phone call away. When that call comes in, you have to act fast – regardless of what you are doing at that time.
As one of the many dedicated men and women serving as an EMT, you are saving lives every day, with quick response times and critical medical skills to treat victims from numerous life-threatening injuries and ailments.
While many in the public like to think of you as superheroes – available anytime and anywhere – you and your fellow EMT workers are still subject to the Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA) laws. This means that you are entitled to a meal break, rest breaks, and overtime.
Have you found that you truly can’t break away from the job to get the time you need? How many times have you been in the middle of a ten-minute rest break, or lunch or dinner when the call comes? For firefighters and EMTs, this is a running joke. Take a look at some of these Tweets from EMT professionals:
While these few are making a joke of the situation, many report that these frequent episodes can cause anxiety.
- Have you been in their shoes?
- Have you ever been anxious because it feels like your radio is glued to your hand, and you’re never really allowed to step away from the job, even for 15 minutes?
You’re not alone in feeling like you are never “off the job.”
EMTs (but also nurses, firefighters, teachers, security guards, tow-truck drivers, and others) have a right to meal breaks and rest breaks where you do not have to be actively working or thinking about work.
And, even if you are getting most of your breaks, it’s illegal for your employer to keep you “on-call” during any of them. What this means is that if you could be paged during a break-even if you actually aren’t – there is a break violation and you are owed an extra hour of pay for each day that you worked. This can add up, fast.
If you are feeling the stress of a work environment where it feels like you are always on the clock, we’d like to hear from you.
Carter Law Firm is a leading employment law and labor law attorney team in California with expertise in wage and hour violations, as well as harassment, discrimination, and other workplace rights violations.
Use the contact form below to reach out to us confidentially. We want to hear about your situation, and we will take your concerns seriously.