Federal Firefighters Retirement Equity Act
Unlike other federal employees, federal firefighters receive retirement credit for only part of the pay they earn during their regular tour of duty. The Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act (H.R. 3186) would amend the flawed formula used to calculate federal firefighters’ retirement annuities so that it will be based on their full salary. NFFE-IAM strongly supports the Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act because federal firefighters deserve a fair retirement that is worthy of their service.
Under current law, federal firefighters are the only federal workers that receive partial retirement credit for their regularly scheduled tour of duty. Many federal firefighters are required to work 19 hours of mandatory overtime per week, or 38 hours per pay period, in addition to their normally scheduled hours. The result of this unique arrangement is that federal firefighters receive only partial credit for mandatory work hours in their annuity calculations, effectively denying them the pension credit they have earned.
For example, a typical DoD firefighter works 106 hours of regular time and 38 hours of mandatory overtime per pay period. At a pay rate of $16.00 per hour, a firefighter’s salary at the end of the pay period would be $2608.00. However, only $2304.00 of that total is credited toward his/her retirement annuity – $304.00 less than what would be credited to any other federal employee. Over a full career, this really adds up.
To correct this inequity, the Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act would end the unfair practice of shortchanging federal firefighters’ retirement by ensuring that the annuity formula is based on the full value of pay compensation received during their regular tour of duty.
Why support the Federal Firefighter Pay Equity Act?
Federal firefighters have been unfairly shortchanged in their retirement benefits because of a flawed calculation method used to determine their pension.
Federal firefighters are required to work 38 hours of mandatory overtime per pay period, which are not fully reflected in their retirement annuity calculations.
H.R. 3186 would ensure that federal firefighters’ retirement pay fully reflect their service to this country.
Over 10,000 federal fighters serve our nation every day protecting our nation’s forests, defense installations, VA hospitals, and communities. They deserve a retirement plan that fully recognizes the extent of their service.