Texas Local Government Code § 142.0015. Hours of Labor and Vacation of Members of Fire and Police Departments in Municipality With Population of More Than 10,000

(a) This section applies only in a municipality with a population of more than 10,000.

(b) A fire fighter or a member of a fire department who provides emergency medical services, other than the fire chief or the assistant chief or an equivalent classification, and who is required or permitted to work more than the number of hours that bears the same ratio to 212 hours as the number of days in the work period bears to 28 days is considered to have worked overtime.  The person is entitled to be compensated for the overtime as provided by Subsection (e).

(c) A member of a fire department who does not fight fires or provide emergency medical services, including a mechanic, clerk, investigator, inspector, fire marshal, fire alarm dispatcher, and maintenance worker, other than the fire chief or the assistant chief or an equivalent classification, and who is required or permitted to average more hours in a week than the number of hours in a normal work week of the majority of the employees of the municipality other than fire fighters, emergency medical service personnel, and police officers, is considered to have worked overtime.  The person is entitled to be compensated for the overtime as provided by Subsection (e).

(d) In computing the hours worked in a work week or the average number of hours worked in a work week during a work cycle of a fire fighter or other member of a fire department covered by this section, all hours are counted during which the fire fighter or other member of a fire department is required to remain on call on the employer's premises or so close to the employer's premises that the person cannot use those hours effectively for that person's own purposes.  Hours in which the fire fighter or other member of a fire department is required only to leave a telephone number at which that person may be reached or to remain accessible by radio or pager are not counted.  In computing the hours in a work week or the average number of hours in a work week during a work cycle of a fire fighter or a member of a fire department who provides emergency medical services, vacation, sick time, holidays, time in lieu of holidays, or compensatory time may be excluded as hours worked.

(e) A fire fighter or other member of a fire department may be required or permitted to work overtime.  A fire fighter or other member of a fire department, other than the fire chief or the assistant chief or an equivalent classification, who is required or permitted to work overtime as provided by Subsections (b) and (c) is entitled to be paid overtime for the excess hours worked without regard to the number of hours worked in any one week of the work cycle.  Overtime hours are paid at a rate equal to 1-1/2 times the compensation paid to the fire fighter or member of the fire department for regular hours.

(e-1) Notwithstanding Subsection (d), in a municipality with a population of one million or more that has not adopted Chapter 143, for purposes of determining hours worked, including determining hours worked for calculation of overtime under Subsection (e), all hours are counted as hours worked during which the fire fighter or member of the fire department:

(1) is required to remain available for immediate call to duty by continuously remaining in contact with the fire department office by telephone, pager, or radio;  or

(2) is taking any authorized leave, including attendance incentive leave, vacation leave, holiday leave, compensatory time off, jury duty, military leave, or leave because of a death in the family.

(f) Except as provided by Subsection (g) or (j), a police officer may not be required to work:

(1) more than 40 hours during a calendar week in a municipality that:

(A) has a population of more than one million;

(B) is not subject to Section 142.0017 ;  and

(C) has not adopted Chapter 174;  or

(2) in a municipality not described by Subdivision (1), more hours during a calendar week than the number of hours in the normal work week of the majority of the employees of the municipality other than fire fighters and police officers.

(f-1) In determining whether a police officer is considered to have been required to work overtime for purposes of Subsection (f)(1), all hours are counted during which the police officer:

(1) is required to remain available for immediate call to duty by continuously remaining in contact with a police department office by telephone or by radio;

(2) is taking any authorized leave, including attendance incentive leave, vacation leave, holiday leave, compensatory time off, jury duty, military leave, or leave because of a death in the family;  and

(3) is considered to have worked under Subsection (h).

(g) In the event of an emergency, a police officer may be required to work more hours than permitted by Subsection (f).  An emergency is an unexpected happening or event or an unforeseen situation or crisis that calls for immediate action and requires the chief or head of the police department to order a police officer to work overtime.

(h) An officer required to work overtime in an emergency is entitled to be compensated for the overtime at a rate equal to 1- 1/2 times the compensation paid to the officer for regular hours unless the officer elects, with the approval of the governing body of the municipality, to accept compensatory time equal to 1- 1/2 times the number of overtime hours.  For purposes of this subsection, compensable hours of work include all hours during which a police officer is:

(1) on duty on the premises of the municipality or at a prescribed workplace or required or permitted to work for the municipality, including preshift and postshift activities that are:

(A) an integral part of the officer's principal activity; or

(B) closely related to the performance of the principal activity; and

(2) away from the premises of the municipality under conditions that are so circumscribed that the officer is restricted from effectively using the time for personal pursuits.

(i) Bona fide meal periods are not counted as hours worked.  For a bona fide meal period, which does not include coffee breaks or time for snacks, a police officer must be completely relieved from duty.  Ordinarily, 30 minutes or more is long enough for a bona fide meal period.  A period shorter than 30 minutes may be long enough for a bona fide meal period under special conditions.  A police officer is not relieved from duty if the officer is required to perform any duties, whether active or inactive, during the meal period.

(j) If a majority of police officers working for a municipality sign a written waiver of the prohibition in Subsection (f), the municipality may adopt a work schedule for police officers requiring a police officer to work more hours than permitted by Subsection (f).  The officer is entitled to overtime pay if the officer works more hours during a calendar month than the number of hours in the normal work month of the majority of the employees of the municipality other than fire fighters and police officers.


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