Female firefighters in the District used to be able to switch to a desk job during their pregnancy. But under a new policy, they're forced to use their own sick leave. It means some female D.C. firefighters have no money coming in months before their due date. They also don't have any maternity leave after they give birth.
Andrea Noble of The Washington Times is reporting that Chief Kenneth Ellerbe told her on Wednesday that "he is mulling a change in policy that would offer 90 days rather than 30 days of limited-duty assignments to all sick, injured or pregnant firefighters and paramedics."
At the same time the chief is mulling that over a department press release was issued saying the chief would announce changes:
At 11:00 a.m., on Thursday, June 30, the District of Columbia’s Chief of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (F&EMS), Kenneth B. Ellerbe, will outline key changes to the department’s limited leave policy for representatives of the local media at a press briefing that will be held at the Fire and EMS headquarters building, located at 1923 Vermont Ave., NW.
Chief Ellerbe will be available to discuss the current policy and what the changes will mean for all members of his Fire and EMS team. The briefing will be held in the F&EMS Headquarters second floor conference room.
DC Council member Phil Mendelson gave the department until July 12 to change the policy or he would try to do it for them through legislation. Mendelson believes the policy already in place with the Metropolitan Police Department is a good one:
The Metropolitan Police Department’s pregnancy policy allows women to stay on limited-duty assignments throughout their pregnancies, said Mr. Mendelson, at-large Democrat.
In an interview, Chief Ellerbe said he worried he would open the department up for discrimination lawsuits by creating separate distinctions for employees on limited-duty assignments. Instead, he said the department was more closely exploring the option of offering the 90-day limited-duty assignments. Even that change would not be without ramifications, he said.
“My concern is that overtime would increase,” he said of a change from the current policy of 30 days to a policy of 90 days.
Also on STATter911 …
- Rockledge, FL’s only woman firefighter says she’s been forced to take maternity leave. Geri Miller wants light duty like those injured off the job. – June 15, 2012
- Stabbing victim transported in DC fire truck New Year’s Eve. Ambulances & medic units not staffed. Lack of planning & high sick leave use cited. – January 2, 2013
- Facebook problems in the Nation’s Capital. Five DC firefighters taken off the street for comments about police. – May 14, 2013
- Three DC firefighters face discipline over appearing with President Obama without authorization. One of those in trouble publicly opposed Chief Kenneth Ellerbe’s uniform policy. – February 22, 2013
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