New Law Prohibits Firing of Volunteer Emergency Responders

Rural Utah depends on volunteers to respond to emergency situations—fires, injuries in the wilderness, car accidents, etc.

Rep.  Casey Snider, R-Logan, sponsored House Bill 173, Emergency Services Volunteer Employment Protection Act, which prevents an employer from terminating an employee due to missed work while volunteering to respond to an emergency situation as part of search and rescue, emergency medical services, fire department, or a sheriff’s mounted posse.

While the bill says volunteers can’t be terminated while serving the community, the employer can reduce pay.

Rep. Lee Perry, R-Perry, amended the bill on the House floor to clarify that if a volunteer is currently working for a public safety agency, they must first have permission to volunteer for the emergency situation so the agency isn’t missing the help it needs.

HB 173 passed the House and the Senate and has been signed by the Gov. Gary Herbert. Click here to learn more about the bill.