Employees FAQ 6

Are police and firefighters treated differently than other employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act for purposes of overtime?

Yes. The FLSA provides a complete exemption from the overtime provisions for any employee of a public agency engaged in law enforcement or fire protection if the agency employs fewer than 5 employees during the workweek. 29 U.S.C. sec. 213(b)(20); 29 C.F.R. sec. 553.200. For purposes of this exemption, the number of law enforcement and fire protection employees are considered separately. Part-time employees are counted and no distinction is made between employees on duty and those on leave status. This exemption applies on a workweek basis.

Agencies which do not qualify for the complete exemption may be eligible for a partial exemption commonly known as the 7(k) or 207(k) exemption. Under 207(k), employees engaged in fire protection with 28-consecutive-day work periods are entitled to one-and-one-half times their regular rate of pay if they work in excess of the lesser of (1) 216 hours or (2) an average number of hours typical of such employees, as determined by the Secretary of Labor. 29 U.S.C. sec. 207(k).