Time & Attendance
Prevent Call Outs
Implementation & Launch
By Matt Dunning
Jul. 18, 2012
President Barack Obama last week directed several agencies within his administration to offer health insurance to thousands of seasonal firefighters, a White House official confirmed.
Seasonal firefighters, which the federal government typically hires for six to seven months annually to assist local responders battling wildfires, previously did not qualify for federal health care coverage under existing provisions of the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program.
According to federal officials, the president was motivated to order the Office of Personnel Management, the Interior Department and the Agriculture Department to change those policies by a recent visit to Colorado, where wildfires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres and destroyed dozens of homes.
“Federal firefighters are putting their lives at risk every day across the country,” OPM Director John Berry said in a statement on Friday. “When the president returned from his trip to Colorado, he directed us to solve the problem of extending access to the FEHBP for those firefighters, and I believe we have a solution.”
Approximately 8,000 seasonal firefighters are employed by the federal government and will become eligible for health care this month, a spokesman for the White House said July 13.
More than 126,000 people signed an online petition urging the president to include temporary firefighters in the government’s employee health care program, said John Lauer, a member of a South Dakota “hotshot crew” of seasonal firefighters.
“The significance of this cannot be overstated,” Lauer said in an online video thanking those who signed the petition. “With this effort, thousands of firefighters will bed down tonight exhausted but unburdened, knowing that the health of their families and their own will be fairly accounted for.”
Matt Dunning writes for Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, email email@example.com.
Stay informed and connected. Get human resources news and HR features via Workforce Management’s Twitter feed or RSS feeds for mobile devices and news readers.
Schedule, engage, and pay your staff in one system with Workforce.com.
federal law, minimum wage, pay rates, state law, wage law compliance
Staffing Management4 proven steps for tackling employee absenteeism
absence management, Employee scheduling software, predictive scheduling, shift bid, shift swapping
Time and Attendance8 ways to reduce overtime and labor costs
labor costs, overtime, scheduling, time tracking, work hours
Don't miss out on the latest tactics and insights at the forefront of HR.