Pa. ambulance service employees receive $35K in back pay due to insufficient sleep

The U.S. Department of Labor determined the private ambulance service violated federal labor laws by not providing the 12 employees with a reasonable sleep period


Tom Davidson
The Tribune-Review, Greensburg

JEFFERSON HILLS, Pa. — A private ambulance service based in Jefferson Hills that has stations in Clairton and Elizabeth has paid more than $35,000 in back wages to 12 employees after violating federal labor laws, the U.S. Department of Labor said Monday.

The department's Wages and Hour Division's investigators found that 12 employees were due back wages totaling $35,492 because the weren't provided a reasonable period — five hours — to sleep during a 24-hour shift at Southeast Regional EMS's Clairton and Elizabeth's locations.

Jefferson Hills Ambulance Association, which operates as Southeast Regional EMS in Clairton and Elizabeth, didn't immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

Labor Department officials didn't indicate when the violations happened or name the employees who were involved. Eight workers at the Clairton station were paid a total of about $25,000 and four workers at the Elizabeth station were paid a total of about $10,000 in back wages.

Labor laws allow employers to deduct eight hours of sleep time for employees who work 24 hour shifts, under certain conditions that weren't met in this case because of the frequency and total time of interruptions during the sleep period, the Labor Department said.

Because of the violation, the previously excluded eight-hour sleep time that had been deducted was owed to the employees, the Labor Department said.

The company has paid the back wages, the Labor Department said.

"The Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring that employees receive the wages they have legally earned for all the hours they have worked — including legally required overtime," John DuMont, the director of the division's Pittsburgh district, said in a statement.

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(c)2021 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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