House passes measure to improve U.S. wildland firefighters' pay, benefits

The bill includes annual pay adjustments, a disability annuity, hazard pay, and seven days of paid mental health leave


By Leila Merrill

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House has passed a measure that would improve pay and benefits for federal wildland firefighters.

According to Government Executive, the Wildfire Response and Drought Resiliency Act (H.R. 5118), introduced by Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., would increase federal firefighters’ pay to a base of $20 an hour and make their compensation “portal-to-portal,” which means that employees are paid for time on the job but not carrying out their primary duties.

Also included: annual pay adjustments, a disability annuity, hazard pay, and seven days of paid mental health leave.

In May, the House passed a bill to reform the federal government’s workers' compensation program to make it easier for firefighters with chronic illnesses to access benefits.


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