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Does anybody have a good model or good thinking around when it makes more sense to hire a full-time public safety employee (fire or police or EMS) versus paying overtime to an existing employee?
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Several issues to consider:
Is workload constant over the entire year, or variable so that the additional resources are only need on a limited basis (for example, is this a seasonal resort community)?
What are the training costs (both entry level and in-service) for a new employee amortized over a reasonable period of time. Paying OT to current, already trained employees eliminates this expense.
What are the additional pension / benefits costs that a new employee will require vs. the current employee on OT? What will be the increase in pension contributions as a result of additional OT salary? (Generally minor)
What are the equipment / uniform costs of a new employee? Usually OT does not add anything to this. When calculating, be certain to include less obvious items such as radios.
Are there alternative work schedules which could provide additional resources? For example, the 12 hour shift averages 42 hours per work week. FLSA allows this extra time to be paid at straight time. For every 21 officers you are buying the equivalent of one full time officer but without the costs of uniforms, benefits, etc.
It is pretty easy to analyze this with a simple spreadsheet review.
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