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Fire pay question


Clueless
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I have good longline skills and lots of 212 experience. I have just received an offer for the upcoming fire season in a 212. I was offered $225 a day +$35 per hour and 40 day for per diem. Does this sound reasonable for a first year guy? Also I read an article that talked about overtime. Does the day rate negate overtime compensation? Is there anything else I need to ask about? Do companies usally provide the transport to/from the job site?

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First, I'm going to assume that this is for CWN, not exclusive use - right?

 

Those companies that I know of, pay $30/day for food when they provide the lodging. If all you're being offered is $40 total, then I'd have to think real hard about it.

 

If you're single, try it for a season. If you're married - run away!!

 

Also, get a copy of the government per diem rates and make note of where you stay each day. When tax time comes around, you can use the gov. rate listed and get a break on your gross salary.

 

Gentle winds,

cr

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  • 2 months later...

Maybe it's just me, but $300 a day doesn't sound too shabby. If you work every other day that's $54,700 a year. That in itself is pretty good. Then there's the overtime, the fact that you may work more than half the available days, the local per diem, and you get fire fighting. Sounds alright to me.

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Yeah, the pay is better, but flying in the Gulf is BORING! Nothing to see. With fire there is always the chance of inspiring some kid by dropping your Bambi bucket into his swimming pool. THAT would be something!

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  • 1 month later...
I have good longline skills and lots of 212 experience. I have just received an offer for the upcoming fire season in a 212. I was offered $225 a day +$35 per hour and 40 day for per diem. Does this sound reasonable for a first year guy? Also I read an article that talked about overtime. Does the day rate negate overtime compensation? Is there anything else I need to ask about? Do companies usally provide the transport to/from the job site?

 

If you are flying a CWN contract, you'll need to read the contract. You are entitled to overtime, but only when you have been requested by the USFS. If the operator you are working for is paying you $225/day on those days you are sitting around waiting to be called, you might have a problem. I would keep track of your time, though. At the end of the season, total your regular hours and overtime hours. Your contract will have a 'wage determination rate' in it. Multiply that by the regular and overtime hours. Compare that to what you were actually paid. You must have been paid at least the amount specified in the contract, PLUS any allowance for health & benefits. A daily rate generally means just that. You work 9 hours, you get $225. You work 14 hours, you get $225. There is no 'hourly rate' to use to calculate overtime with.

 

The contract will have no provision for flight pay in it. $225/day plus $35 per flight hour sounds good, but in a busy month of fire activity, you will make $10,000/month at the regular hourly + overtime + health & benefits rate. If your fire season is only 3 or 4 months at the hourly rate, but your employer is offering you 6 months of work at the daily rate, you might be better off with the daily rate. Do your homework, and do the math.

 

If you are flying an Exclusive Use Contract, it's pretty black and white. Again, track your hours, multiply those hours by the wage determination rate, and compare that total to what you were actually paid. Don't forget to add in your health & benefits allowance.

 

If there is a discrepancy, let your employer know. If you cannot come to an agreement, there is a phone number in your contract to call for contract (wage) disputes. My experience has been that employers are reasonable. They're not out to short you. They want you back for next season. Give your employer a chance to come to terms with you. Be fair with them, and they'll be fair with you.

 

$40/day for per diem is average, IF your employer provides you with lodging, or pays for your hotel room.

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