Colo. state employees who volunteer as FFs, EMS providers to get 5 extra paid days off

The governor's new order may help with staffing and retention, said Fairmount Fire Protection Chief Alan Fletcher


By Leila Merrill

DENVER —Gov. Jared Polis on Wednesday signed an executive order authorizing all state agencies to provide up to five additional days of paid leave for state employees who serve as volunteer firefighters, paramedics, EMTs or search and rescue team members.

The governor encouraged other employers to follow suit, according to Denver7.

“The men and women who do volunteer firefighting ... shouldn’t be financially penalized for serving as volunteer firefighters. When they step up, dedicate their time, put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities, they need to know that their employer — in this case, the state of Colorado — has their back,” reads the executive order Gov. Jared Polis signed Wednesday.
“The men and women who do volunteer firefighting ... shouldn’t be financially penalized for serving as volunteer firefighters. When they step up, dedicate their time, put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities, they need to know that their employer — in this case, the state of Colorado — has their back,” reads the executive order Gov. Jared Polis signed Wednesday. (File photo/David Zalubowski/Associated Press)

"To ensure we continue to encourage Coloradoans to engage in this critical volunteer work, it is important that employers, including the State of Colorado, support employees who volunteer and take time away from their employment to help with fire mitigation and suppression," the order stated.

Up to 70% of Colorado’s firefighters are volunteers, to the executive order states.

“The men and women who do volunteer firefighting don’t do it to get compensated — they’re volunteers. But they shouldn’t be financially penalized for serving as volunteer firefighters. When they step up, dedicate their time, put themselves in harm’s way to protect our communities, they need to know that their employer — in this case, the state of Colorado — has their back,” the order reads.

Fairmount Fire Protection Chief Alan Fletcher said he thinks the new policy will help.

“I think this is really the beginning of something that should be able to take on and give us additional tools that volunteers across the state of Colorado could use to help with our retention, to help with their ability to maybe sign up and volunteer, knowing that they can actually get some time off,” Fletcher said.

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