SC county adds pay bump to 48-hour EMS shifts

The financial incentive is a stopgap effort until overall pay can be increased to address staffing shortages

By Rachel Engel

BEAUFORT COUNTY, S.C. — Paramedics and EMTs will receive a pay bump when filling extended hours as the county works to address the staffing shortages at Beaufort County EMS.

The pay bump will be added each time a provider works an extended 48-hour shift. According to The Island Packet, an average of five EMS first responders worked double shifts every day through the first three months of 2021.

In May, EMS workers were told they would receive $250 for working a double shift, but it was not included in paychecks, as the cost to the county had not been approved by elected local leaders.

EMS officials have stated they will now be using funds slated for salaries of positions that are vacant for the bonus, which does not require approval.

An across-the-board pay raise for EMS and corrections will be part of the county’s budget that must be approved by July 1, and includes a commitment to “aggressively recruiting” EMS from colleges, the military and local schools.

“We don’t want people working that long, but we have no choice right now,” said Christopher Ophardt, a county spokesman.

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