The US Treasury announced Friday that volunteer firefighters would not be counted as full time employees under the Affordable Care Act. Fire departments, organizations and fire chiefs throughout the US have fought against what was originally going to cause many volunteer fire departments to be forced to provide health insurance to its volunteers.
Under the way the law was originally written any employer with 50+ employees working 30+ hours per week would have been required to provide health insurance. In many places around the country volunteers are considered employees because they are offered retirement benefits, stipends paid per call throughout the year and other benefits.
This change in policy in Washington eliminates what many departments and chiefs worried about with possibly having to limit the hours firefighters were allowed to volunteer or for departments and associations eliminating any benefit programs.