[Decision Concerning Federal Fire Fighters' Entitlement to Overtime Pay]

B-230414: Jan 10, 1989

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The Forest Service requested a decision as to whether fire fighters were entitled to overtime pay under title 5 of the United States Code or under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), computed on the basis of a rule which excluded sleep and mealtimes from shifts of more than 24 hours. GAO held that the: (1) employees were entitled to overtime for their entire shift without deduction of sleep and mealtime, since the Service restricted them to their base under emergency conditions without adequate facilities and on constant standby; and (2) Service should not deduct the mealtimes, since the meals were not bona fide meals. Accordingly, the Service should not apply the two-thirds rule and should calculate overtime pay under either title 5 or FLSA.

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