CHAPTER 498

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 451

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 &2

AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 16, TITLE 19, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO FIREFIGHTING AND RESCUE SQUAD WORKERS FROM BEING PAID OVERTIME COMPENSATION WHEN THEY VOLUNTEER THEIR SERVICES WITHIN THE VARIOUS COMMUNITIES.

WHEREAS, such services are at a risk because of a recent ruling by the U. S. Department of Labor barring professional firefighters and rescue squad workers from volunteering their services; and

WHEREAS, the 1993 ruling held that professional firefighters and rescue workers could not volunteer their services without those services being considered compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA); and

WHEREAS, the impact of the decision will have far reaching effects on a number of communities who do not have sufficient revenue to sustain and support full time professional fire and rescue services; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Labor's decision represents yet another unfunded federal mandate and an intrusion on the right of citizens to decide for themselves what services local governments should provide; and

WHEREAS, this legislation, which has been endorsed by the National Volunteer Fire Council, will permit professional firefighters and rescue squad workers to volunteer their off duty services at locations where they are either employed or are not employed by exempting them from the FLSA overtime provisions; and

WHEREAS, secondly, the legislation will allow such individuals to waive their claim to overtime compensation by signing a legally binding waiver; and

WHEREAS, thirdly, the legislation will prohibit employers from directly or indirectly requiring firefighters or rescue squad workers to volunteer their services during any period in which they would otherwise be entitled to receive overtime compensation.

NOW, THEREFORE:

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Chapter 16, Title 19, Delaware Code, by designating §1601 through §1618 as Subchapter I. and inserting a new Subchapter II to read as follows:

"Subchapter II. Volunteer Firelighter and Rescue Squad Worker Protection Act §1621. Definitions

As used in this Subchapter the term 'employee' shall not include a firefighter or a member of a rescue squad during the period in which the firefighter or rescue squad member volunteers the firefighter's or member's services at a location where the firefighter or member is either employed or is not then or regularly employed.

§1622. Waiver of Overtime Compensation

The employer of a firefighter or member of a rescue squad shall not be required to pay a firefighter or member overtime compensation:

(1) when the firefighter or member volunteered their services to the employer; and

(2) for which the firefighter or member signed a legally binding waiver of such compensation.

§1623. Coercion

No employer may require directly or indirectly an employee who is a firefighter or member of a rescue squad to volunteer the employee's firefighting or rescue squad services during any period in which such employee would be entitled to receive compensation for overtime employment."

Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon enactment of comparable federal law.

Approved July 12, 1996