Emergency Law Inventory | Full Law Text

Law Number

W. Va. Code 21-5-17

Summary Title

Workers’ Benefits: Volunteer Firefighter and EMS


An employee who is a volunteer firefighter or emergency medical service attendant and who responds to an emergency call prior to the beginning of the workday at their regular place of employment will not be terminated by their employer as a result of their volunteering, but they could lose accumulated leave time and pay for the amount of the time they missed. The employer can request a written statement from the chief or other supervisor of the volunteer fire department verifying the employee’s volunteer service.

Full Title

Employers prohibited from discharging employees for time lost as volunteer firemen or emergency medical service attendant

Full Text

No employer may terminate, or use any disciplinary action against, an employee who is a member of a volunteer fire department or who is an emergency medical service attendant and who, in the line of emergency duty as a volunteer fireman or an emergency medical service attendant, responds to an emergency call prior to the time he or she is due to report for work and which emergency results in a loss of time from his or her employment. Any time lost from employment as provided in this section may be charged against the employee’s regular pay or against the employee’s accumulated leave, if any, at the option of the employee. At the request of an employer, any employee losing time as provided herein shall supply his or her employer with a statement from the chief of the volunteer fire department or the supervisor or other appropriate person in charge of the emergency medical service entity stating that the employee responded to an emergency call and the time thereof. As used in this section, “emergency” means going to, attending to or coming from: (1) A fire call; (2) a hazardous or toxic materials spill and cleanup; (3) a motor vehicle accident; or (4) any other situation to which his or her fire department or emergency medical service entity has been or later could be dispatched. The term “employer” includes any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust or any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to any employee. Any employer who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this section must reinstate the employee to his or her former position and shall be required to pay the employee all lost wages and benefits, including seniority, for the period between termination and reinstatement. Any action to enforce the provisions of this section must be commenced within a period of one year after the date of violation and the action must be commenced in the circuit court of the county wherein the place of employment is located.