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Frontline Overtime

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Heres a topic that might cause some debate and one I may regret. :o

GMFRS has, with approval from the FBU brought back in overtime (time and half) for 6 months to assist with GMFRS's shortfall of firefighters. We had been dropping pumps left, right and centre up until the OT came back into being in the past few weeks. Obviously its quite lucrative and as an example a WM can earn £350 for a single night shift which has resulted in there being quite a rush from all ranks to do them. 

The question is, does your FRS allow OT and if so how does it run, and more so, does it run well? 

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We have an Additional Shift Working policy to allow staff to do overtime shifts if they wish (both WT and RDS can put in for them).  WT get time and half, RDS are only paid time as they haven’t done 42 hours in the week.  I didn’t put my name on the list so I am unsure of some of the operational rules involved but from memory any overtime shifts are first offered to other watches on the same station and if still unfilled then they get offered to whoever is top of the list and regardless of whether they take it or not they then move to the bottom of the list.  The stations are grouped and I can only do additional shifts at stations in my group.  All agreed with the FBU.  Also agreed was that additional shifts would not be used to prop up planned shortfalls in agreed establishment.  A minimum number of WT station based riders was agreed across the service and if establishment fell below that then the brigade agreed to recruit.  If a further drop of about another six firefighters took place then it was agreed that additional shift working would cease until numbers returned to minimum or above.  You can guess what happened!   ASW has been stopped for around two months over Xmas and New Year and only resumed this week after a fast and furious RDS to WT recruitment process to bump numbers back above minimum.

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We have been doing it for years. You apply and get put on a register. When your turn comes you get a phone call and get time and a half for up to a 24 hour shift. We do have limitations of how many hours a month you can do but the guys on it love it. Only wholetime can do it. 

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Yep, our service has been doing it for a couple of years, its the only way we can keep the (WT) pumps on the run at present I think it runs at between 10 - 15 OT shifts per day/night.

It's managed purely by stations putting available shifts on a social platform (yammer) and anyone who has the required skill and is still within working time directive can phone station to apply...usually the station where the it is required has first dibs but there's so much that most personnel are able to get a few shifts a month.

Put it this way, A WC probably makes more money than me on flexi, 3 extra night shifts a month sees an grand before tax !!

It is a planned strategy by the service (agreed by union ) as it means that in theory the head count has been reduced and it's cheaper to pay OT rather than recruiting, as you save all the on costs. OT is planned at roughly £45K per one pump station per annum. 

If we didn't do this I reckon we'd lose 2-3 pumps per day ( we still lose the second pumps on occasions) even with OT.

On call can do it as well but only flat rate.

We also have fixed term contracts (6 months generally at 21 hours, job share effectively) for on call members to apply for as long as it doesn' affect the on call availabiliy.

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We've being doing it for quite a few years and without it the Service wouldn't run. Its managed locally and every station has a list of personnel to call as and when necessary.

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10 hours ago, Carl said:

interestingly, we can opt out of it ?

Carl. So do we. Even if you opt out, and all that do that amount of OT have had to sign to say such) you still have to adhere to the  legislative rest periods per week/time period (can't remember exactly what these are but interestingly our 2-2-4 isn't compliant as you don' get 11 hours off!)

We are also allowed to do back to back shifts (24) so coming off last night for extra day shift, or a night preceeding your first day Any watch can ride any other watch at any location, no travel or expenses are paid as this OT is not a service requirement. 

You can also come in whilst on annual leave if you want and bank the day. (Think banked day must be used within 12 weeks )

There was a limit on how much OT you could do but this has been stopped. 

I have heard of the 100 club (hours per month) believe there a few members !!

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Whilst I don't want to start that debate, I have to ask where the grey book comes into all these long-term OT arrangements? The OT in GMFRS is heavily stipulated as being an interim measure whilst there is ongoing and significant FF recruitment but it seems to me that many services are using OT as an indefinite measure to plug foreseen gaps.

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3 hours ago, Cardiff_Fire said:

Not a sniff of it in South Wales! 

Not a sniff in 32 years!! O/T was around before I joined and there after I retired. 

So I dug holes, drove lorries, buried dead people and all sorts of crap and poorly paid part time jobs, rather than use the skills that the taxpayer had provided me.

Fill your boots is my advice!!!

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WMFS allow overtime but only pay time plus a quarter.  Time and a half is only paid for ,‘can you come in now‘. 

We also have stricter rules meaning no back to back shifts.  

The troops are making a fortune in some cases.  Although I could, I personally haven’t done any overtime as my time is more valuable than the pay but I don’t have any issues with anybody working extra. 

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We have to leave a 24 hour gap from finishing and starting again, so you can really only do the 2 middle rota days or nights. Of course, when on annual people will put in for more. 

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We're trying to introduce a banked/flexi shift system with no more than 5 on duty even with this though we were so short over christmas we had OT coming out of our ears. Now we've had an intake of new recruits start we're back to taking bank shifts off.

OT has been relatively common as far back as I can remember apart from during IA. Some of the biggest winners are officers who provide cover in the east of the county.

We try and alternate between calling in WT or on call, on call only from the same station for some strange reason and unless you've worked 42 hrs it's straight time. As WT we get 1.5 plus travel if going to a station further than your home station.

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Yes Sort of..recall to duty and recall to standby, following a service  request for shift swap that hasn' been filled.

If you mean outside of flexi system at a lower role..no.

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13 hours ago, Ian said:

Does any FRS allow their FDO's to undertake overtime?


For SM's and GM's in LFB PAO is available.... weirdly the RB's settled on a 50% rate (based on the fact I think you are effectively on stand down as its only night or weekend cover). So half time, opposed to flat rate or time and a half. I've done a few but only volunteer for them if ILO overtime isn't going because ILO pays full rate as I explain below.

There are recall arrangements which pay either 7 or 10% of your salary for a set recall pattern then full overtime if you do get recalled. And currently as the ILO and ORT (Ops Review Team) are very short on the rotas, there is also full overtime available to maintain minimum numbers. For a top rate GM for a 24 hours shift this is £744. I have to say I was very lucky with this during the Olympics and also since December where we lost a few ILO's to retirement and promotion.  On Bank Holidays it can be eye watering. (£186 for a three hour recall for Notting Hill Carnival in 2016 when it livened up for a bit in the evening).

I won't comment on the OT for Ff-WM as I was never part of that and others can explain how it works. But quite a few of my J/O's do a fair bit of it as I see them in all kinds of weird and wonderful places on my travels. I think the best off are our CBRN Team who have as much OT as they want within reason, many of them are taking more than GM's in a month. Good luck to them, as Messy says, people used to do some crap part time jobs to make ends meet and is the reason I did the knowledge to drive a London cab as I was fed up with earning a pittance for working on my days off.

Again, its all relative. Now I'm close to retiring, I am beginning to put my feelers out into the Private Sector where £500-£600 per day seems to be a pretty unspectacular (for those offering) amount for the right person with experience and qualifications. I know one retired Officer, working as a consultant, its high risk in terms of his reputation, as he has a very ambitious company trying to break into the fire sector.... but he is being paid £1000 per day with all sorts of bonuses tied in if their 'product' takes off.  Personally that wouldn't be for me as the company are very high pressure and full on in terms of their product.

This old fool has wandered off on a digression again. xD

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Just out of interest, are you guys in other FRS's allowed to put in for any overtime shifts whilst you are on annual leave? We are having some debate about this in GMFRS and as the CMs and FFs still do rostered reserve shifts, then their ability to put in for the middle 2 rota days is reduced as they are filled with rostered in shifts.

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Obviously the Grey Book stipulates no more than 24hrs in a month averaged over a 6 month period. Is this adhered to and if so is it self policing or are there any systems in place to police it. Apologies for all the questions, but I am trying to capture a national picture as the OT in GMFRS is very new.

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Ours is local agreement, grey book conditions not applicable, to be honest if we had stuck to grey book pumps would be off all the time (even more than at present - we did try grey book conditions, it just didn't work) self policing by cc / wc who ultimately sign their watch monthly returns (Ours is called 207i)

We did look into an automated recording system that would not allow input over a certain figure, but it just didn't/ wouldn't work for lots of reasons.

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