FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 16, 2023
City of Morgantown Responds to Court Ruling in Holiday Benefits Case
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - In the Summer of 2019, the firefighters' union representative notified the City of their intention to file a lawsuit, seeking 24 hours of premium pay for every legal holiday under W. Va. Code 8-15-10a. The City, previously providing holiday benefits in the form of leave time averaging 12 hours per holiday, engaged in mediation before the lawsuit. During this process, the City proposed a generous resolution, offering to give the firefighters over and above the benefits legally required for holidays. Regrettably, this offer was declined, leading to the filing of the lawsuit.
Subsequent to the initiation of the lawsuit in January 2020, the City proactively adjusted its holiday policy, providing all firefighters with 24 hours of paid leave for each holiday. This decision was made to ensure that firefighters did not perceive a diminishment in their entitlements, although the law mandated benefits for 8 or 16 hours based on their work schedule.
The Circuit Court, in alignment with the City's stance, granted a summary judgment, affirming that firefighters are entitled to holiday benefits for 8 or 16 hours based on their work schedule, rather than the claimed 24 hours of premium pay. Recently, the Supreme Court endorsed this ruling.
In accordance with the Circuit Court's decision, the City has been adhering to the provision of holiday pay for 8 or 16 hours worked on holidays. We are pleased that the ruling affirms the correct interpretation of holiday benefits under W. Va. Code 8-15-10a.
Looking ahead, we hope for a swift examination of each employee's work history to ascertain if any firefighters were inadequately compensated for holidays. The City is committed to rectifying any discrepancies by either providing additional time off for current employees or making appropriate payments for former employees. A special commissioner, as appointed by the Circuit Court's order, will oversee these calculations. We are eager to resolve this outstanding matter and move forward collaboratively beyond the confines of this lawsuit.