Monday, August 24, 2009

Pay Issues

Just did a long-distance trip yesterday, and along the way I started thinking about EMS professionals, our hours, and our pay.

Anybody involved in EMS is painfully aware that we are the redheaded stepchild of emergency services. Cops and firemen get all the glory. Their pay is far better, even without overtime, and they usually get a pension. It's a perk that comes with being a civil service job, employed by the state or city, and one of probably the only good things that could come out of government healthcare-EMS might turn into a government job with all the perks that come from that.

EMT B's in my area start at ten bucks an hour, medics at about $16. After two years I'm almost to 11 per hour now. It adds up to about 22K a year, depending on how much overtime I pick up. My company does offer a respectable healthcare plan, and a 401K for full time employees, which is nice. That's about all though. It's kind of pitiful considering the ambulette drivers start with at least $12 an hour, and even a janitor in the school system can make enough to support a family.

What I realized though, is there is so much money there-even in this starved economy, we are always a little short staffed, and there is plenty of overtime to go around. For those that want to, an 70 hour work week is not unheard of. Overtime, like most anywhere else, is time and a half where I work, which bumps those EMT-B's up to 15 per hour. Why not simply hire a few more staff members, and raise the pay a few bucks? Burning yourself out with an insane amount of hours is dangerous to the tech, their patients, and anyone on the road with them. It can hurt patient care, and it's not good for mental or social welfare of employees either. Would it be so hard to pay everyone say, $13 an hour, and have a few more employees to cover the shifts that would otherwise be overtime?

Next up: How the volunteer EMS system is killing EMS as a career!

No comments:

Post a Comment