WINNIPEG – Rising overtime costs within the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) are largely due to holiday time and other absences, according to a new report.
On average, one-quarter of eligible staff are on vacation or ill.
In September, the WFPS was asked to provide more information on staffing levels after city hall approved another $1.3 million, largely to help pay for overtime.
That report to be heard next Thursday, found the overtime to be the main cause of over-expenditures, and that the level of absence in each shift is shown to consistently exceed the absentee number provided by the current staffing ratio.
The WFPS has 212 staff assigned per shift, but after looking at shifts in the first half of this year found just 162 reported to work.
Almost 69 per cent are away on paid vacation, while 16 per cent are off due to personal illness. The remaining absences are the result of training, injury, bereavement or unpaid leave.
By comparison, 46 per cent of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) staff reported absences due to holiday time in the same time period.
The report notes that 50 per cent of WFPS staff have enough years of service to receive five to six weeks of vacation per year compared to 24 per cent of EMS.