Members Introduce “Protecting Volunteer
Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act”
D.C. – U.S. Representative Glenn 'GT' Thompson (PA-5) today joined fellow
Members of Congress in holding a press conference to discuss the introduction
of the Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act (H.R.
3685), which will ensure that emergency services volunteers are not counted as
full-time employees under the employer mandate in the Affordable Care Act
the President’s health care law, volunteer firefighting organizations could
potentially be defined as employers, meaning they would be forced to provide
health insurance to their volunteers or be subject to penalties. If not
corrected or clarified this provision has the potential to close volunteer fire
houses across the commonwealth,” stated Rep. Thompson, a 30-year volunteer
firefighter, EMT, and state-certified Rescue Technician. “This bill is about
providing certainty to our local volunteer organizations and standing up for
those who put their lives on the line protecting our communities.”
the ACA’s employer mandate, volunteer organizations with 50 or more employees
could be forced to provide health insurance or pay penalties. H.R. 3685 would
ensure that volunteer firefighters and EMTs are not counted as employees under
September, Representative Lou Barletta (PA-11), the bill’s sponsor, sent a
letter to IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel seeking clarification for volunteer
fire companies. The IRS has not responded to the letter.
of Pennsylvania’s fire departments – and 90% nationwide - are served by
community volunteers. Fire companies
could exceed the 50 employee threshold in several different ways: by themselves
based on their size, by being part of a larger combined force under several
different chiefs, or by being part of a municipality that has 50 or more public
employees in total.
3685 is supported by the National Volunteer Fire Council and the International
Association of Fire Chiefs.