MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Ambulance Authority will have to pay emergency service employees who volunteer at fire departments or adopt a policy prohibiting paid employees from responding to emergency calls during nonworking hours.
Federal labor laws prohibit paid employees from volunteering in the same capacity for the same company. They must get paid for the service, according to Authority President Gary Collis.
In the past, that posed no problem for the county's emergency service employees because the five volunteer fire departments were separate entities and were licensed individually. A paramedic could work a shift, then volunteer for a few hours as a paramedic at one of the fire departments.
In September, as a result of restructuring, the departments were licensed under the Berkeley County Ambulance Authority.
Since last week, the county's paid personnel have been acting under an interim policy prohibiting employees from serving as volunteers unless they have a "duty to act."