Neguse introduces bill seeking to boost wildland firefighter pay, benefits – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-10-19 19:43:26 –

Denver – A bipartisan bill, introduced on Tuesday and sponsored by Colorado Congressman Jonegs, will review the salaries, benefits, and classification system of federal wilderness firefighters if passed by Congress.

measuresIs called the Tim Hart Wildland Firefighter Classification and Pay Parity Act and is named after Tim Hart, a federal smoke jumper based in Montana. Who died After jumping in the middle of a fire in New Mexico in May.

The bill, currently classified as a forestry engineer, aims to create a new classification series for federal wilderness firefighters, usually starting with a GS-3 wage grade and initially earning $ 13.45. .. The White House committed in late June Raise the minimum wage for federal firefighters to $ 15 per hour.

As introduced, the bill requires the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Interior to create a number of new classifications for federal wilderness firefighters and determine which skills and obligations fit into each classification. To do.

We will also raise the minimum wage for these positions to Step 3 of the GS-6 classification. That’s about $ 36,000 a year, or about $ 20 an hour. 2021 general schedule wage table.. According to the bill, wage rates will rise at least as much each year as inflation has risen. If it passes, you will need to submit a report to Congress comparing the wages of federal firefighters and the wages of non-federal firefighters, depending on the state. General schedule wage rate It is based on employee experience, and in some occupations it is based on education, or a combination of both.

Dangerous wages for federal firefighters to include open burning, parachuting, climbing trees over 20 feet, removing trees, and other hazards that may determine agriculture and interiors are eligible. This measure will also be extended if you receive.

In addition, the bill guarantees that federal wilderness firefighters will be paid on a 24-hour basis from the time they receive an order until they return from duty, including overtime. It also directs HR Management to establish guidelines combined with new firefighter classifications to better understand the different types of jobs and wages.

It also seeks to establish a $ 1,000 recruitment and retention bonus paid annually when firefighters complete their annual work performance tests, and housing allowances for firefighters who are more than 50 miles away from their primary residence. is.

This measure includes a mental health program, 7 days of paid mental health leave, chronic illness compensation and estimated medical coverage, as well as external vocational training and school for firefighters wishing to move to another career. The purpose is to establish a lesson support program. The bill’s sponsors say firefighters are 30 times more likely to die of suicide than non-firefighters, significantly increasing their risk of developing cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.

If the bill is passed and signed by the President, temporary firefighters can also work for retirement, dating back to the last decade.

The bill is sponsored by Negz and Salud Carbajal (Republican) and backed by Liz Cheney (Republican) and Katie Porter (Democrat).Also There is support from Grassroots Wildland Firefighters, American Hot Shot Association, National Smokejumper Association, Wildland Firefighters Foundation, International Firefighters Association, etc.

Negz, Carbahal, a former wild firefighter, and Hart’s wife Michelle Hart said at a press conference on Tuesday that the bill would be very important to address the physical and mental health needs of wild firefighters and other issues, including wages. Said it was necessary. To firefighters leaving their careers.

“I can’t thank you for including him in this part of his legacy. Thank you very much,” Hart said.

Negz said bipartisan house sponsors are working to get Senate sponsors for a bicameral bill and are “confident” that Senate legislation will be introduced in the coming weeks. ..

“As the effects of climate change worsen, the wildfire season is becoming more and more devastating,” Negz said, saying Colorado firefighters and other federal officials said about the fire season. Was repeated. Year of fire due to artificial climate change.. “As these wildfires grow larger and last longer, federal firefighters respond to mission requests, leaving their lives and families behind for months at a time, working on average 16 hours a day shifts, and soil. Sleep inside and take an incredibly limited time vacation. Reset and reconnect with your loved ones. This needs to be changed …. Federal firefighters are livable in return. You should be able to rely on the federal government for wages and healthy working conditions. “

Neguse introduces bill seeking to boost wildland firefighter pay, benefits Source link Neguse introduces bill seeking to boost wildland firefighter pay, benefits

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