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Koehler Introduces Bill to Alleviate First Responder Staffing Issues

February 8, 2022
J. Kyle Koehler News

COLUMBUS – State Representatives Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) Tuesday introduced legislation to immediately and temporarily increase the part-time work hour limit for small townships.

Persistent staffing issues within local law enforcement, emergency medical services and fire departments have resulted in increased overall response times and large spans of unstaffed hours. Proponents of the bill state that while they have dedicated first responders ready and willing to help, Ohio’s part-time work hour limit prevents these townships from offering their staff more hours. With local critics raising concerns about the safety of their communities. 

“Our first responders work tirelessly to protect our communities,” said Koehler. “If this issue is not addressed, the part-time employees covering for current absentees will reach their maximum allowable hours by September of this year. The numbers don’t lie. For the safety of our communities, Ohio needs to be proactive.”

Currently, Ohio Revised Code prohibits part-time employees from working more than 1,500 hours annually, roughly 28 hours per week. Koehler’s bill seeks to temporarily increase this limit to 38 hours per week for small townships, with this leniency expiring one year following the bill’s effective date. 

To remain in compliance with federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirements, this relief would only be available to townships with fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees. Furthermore, this measure would only apply to collective bargaining agreements entered into after the bill’s effective date. 

The bill now awaits a committee referral.