The Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor (DOL) recently released four new opinion letters concerning volunteering and the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Different Public Agency
The Department opined that county-employed emergency medical technicians are able to volunteer to provide emergency medical services for a local volunteer emergency crew (the “Crew”) without violating the FLSA. Advice was sought about whether the county and the Crew would be considered the same public agency under the FLSA. Relying on factors considered by the Fourth Circuit in Benshoff v. City of Virginia Beach, 180 F.3d 136 (4th Cir. 1999), the DOL found the county and the Crew did not constitute the same public agency. Facts relevant to this determination included the following: (1) Crew members voted to elect officers; (2) the Crew had a board of trustees made of public citizens and maintained its own set of by-laws and policies; (3) the county did not control the Crew’s personnel decisions; and (4) the county only paid for 20 percent of the Crew’s operating expenses. FLSA2008-13 (December 18, 1008)
In a separate opinion letter, the DOL advised that a firefighter who is employed by a private, volunteer fire department may not provide firefighting services for his or her employer in exchange for compensation on some shifts and on an unpaid basis during other shifts. FLSA2008-14 (December 18, 2008)Continue Reading...