Authorized Leave for Volunteer Emergency Responders Passes Assembly

Legislation would provide job protection for volunteer firefighters and ambulance workers

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF – Sag Harbor) announced his bill to provide for authorized absences for members of volunteer fire departments and volunteer ambulance squads who respond to a declared state of emergency, A.4099, has passed the Assembly on June 18th.

Assemblyman Thiele sponsored this legislation on behalf of the Firemen’s Association of the State of New York (FASNY). It amends the Labor Law to provide for authorized leave for volunteer firefighters or ambulance squad members for State or locally declared emergencies who are engaged in the actual performance of his or her duties as an emergency responder. It is designed to ensure volunteer firefighters and EMS responders do not lose their jobs because they were late or missed work while performing their duties during a State or locally declared state of emergency.

Assemblyman Thiele stated, “Whether it be a natural disaster like Superstorm Sandy or a man-made disaster like the brush fires that caused so much devastation to Long Island’s East End last year, my constituents depended upon the volunteers who responded at a moment’s notice to provide necessary emergency services. As the demand for these dedicated men and women continues to rise, they should be fully confident that their jobs are not in jeopardy when they are called upon to protect and serve our communities in a time of crisis.”

According to FASNY, eight states including Ohio, Illinois and California have passed statutes to protect their volunteers. This measure also passed in the New York State Senate earlier in the Session and will soon be sent to the Governor for his consideration. Thiele concluded, “I was proud to sponsor this bill in the New York State Assembly and look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with FASNY in supporting its enactment.”