|To address the decrease in recruitment and retention of volunteer firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel and the struggles they often face in participating in necessary and timely training exercises, I plan to introduce legislation that would:
Furthermore, under this legislation, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions would be required to grant up to five days of unpaid leave per year for necessary training exercises. In addition, the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions would be authorized to grant up to five days of paid leave per year for training purposes.
- · Encourage private employers to permit an employee who is an active volunteer to leave work in response to an emergency call.
- · Encourage private employers to permit an employee who is an active volunteer to take a paid leave of absence at the request of a fire chief to participate in training exercises deemed necessary.
- · Require the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions to permit employees who are active volunteers to respond to an emergency call prior to, or during, work hours, with or without pay, with no loss of time or efficiency rating.
- · Prohibit all employers from discriminating against, refusing to hire, or employing any individual due to them being a member of a volunteer emergency service organization.
- · Authorize a tax credit for private employers who allow an employee-volunteer to leave work for training or to respond to an emergency call.
Please join me in support of this important legislation aimed at assisting our volunteer first responders who provide a great service to the residents of the Commonwealth.