FEMA First Responders May Have To Return Overtime Pay From Disaster Relief Work


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Nick Givas Media And Politics Reporter
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The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) may force employees to return part of their paycheck, due to the high volume of wildfires and hurricanes that have occurred this year.

“This year’s unprecedented hurricane season led to a record-setting length of national activation,” FEMA said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. “Due to the extended work hours involved in supporting disaster recovery and response efforts for multiple storms, some employees have been affected by the annual maximum earnings limitation.”

FEMA employees can have their pay capped under federal law, especially in instances where they are working in “connection with an emergency.” The office of personnel management outlines the details of pay limitations on its website:

The head of an agency may apply an annual pay cap to certain types of premium pay for any pay period for (1) employees performing work in connection with an emergency, including work performed in the aftermath of such an emergency, or (2) employees performing work critical to the mission of the agency.

FEMA is watching close to 500 employees who are in danger of exceeding the cap, Bloomberg reported.

FEMA also sent out a Frequently Asked Questions document and said workers who’ve logged extra hours “may still be ordered to perform work without receiving further compensation,” according to Bloomberg. Employees who are over the annual allowance will be billed and have to pay the difference in 2018.

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