You may have always had the desire to help other people. From a young age, you may have thought about the various jobs you could have as an adult that would allow you to help others. When the time came to choose your profession, you became a paramedic.
The demands of the job are no secret, and you have likely had your fair share of days and nights when you work tirelessly to reach those who need help. Unfortunately, taking care of others may mean that you do not have much time to take care of yourself. Though breaks and meal times for employees are supposed to be provided under California law, you know that getting a break as a paramedic is an unusual occurrence.
What is a break?
In many other professions, workers are able to clock out when they take a break and get away from their work for at least a few minutes. For you and numerous other EMTs and paramedics, the idea of getting away from work for a few minutes is unfathomable. Even when you should technically be on break, you likely have your walkie-talkie or other device that allows dispatch to contact you at a moment’s notice. In other words, you remain on call even when on a break.
In this type of arrangement, are you really on a break? Most paramedics would likely agree that being on call is not the same as being on a break and that it is easy to become disheartened on the job when there is no time for rest. In fact, it is not unusual for EMTs and paramedics to be dropping off patients at the hospital and get called to another situation at the same time, which makes it almost impossible to catch your breath.
Payment is due
If you find yourself having to work through breaks, rarely getting a moment to yourself on the job and working upwards of 15 hours in a single day, you should receive your due compensation. In this type of situation, compensation not only means your hourly wage but also what you earn for overtime. In particular, it is important that you understand that being on call is not the same as being on a break, and you deserve payment.
If you have concerns that your employer is not properly compensating you for the numerous hours you put in helping save lives, you may want to discuss the matter with an employment law attorney.