I was wondering how many agencies out there pay a night "differential" to their field provIders. 
If you do, how is it administered (by certain hours, flat rate for certain shifts,etc). 
Also if your agency has changed (likely from having a shift differential to not having one) how was it taken by providers (pitchfork or sans pitchfork)?

Tags: Administration, EMS, policy

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Some folks I know in hospital-operated services get shift differentials - not for any EMS reason, just because the hospital pays it to everybody.

In my last couple of agencies, it hasn't been necessary to talk about shift differentials simply because there were enough people who wanted to work nights anyway - for lifestyle reasons, like child care duties or school schedules.  Practically speaking, we ought to pay shift differentials to DAY personnel, because they appear to be so much busier than night crews.

Besides, the urban street night life is much more entertaining!

In the UK we get an additional 25% of our salary tax free for unsocial working.

This covers nights weekends and public holidays. It is automatically paid to staff

As all staff receive it, agencies regularly look to alter working patterns to reduce eligibility but it never goes that far

Wow, the UK's got the better deal by far. We get an additional $0.90/hr for night and weekend shifts.

Skip is right on with his comments.

It's been my experience that most people who work nights or 24 hour shifts in EMS want to.  I'm one of those and I want a differential to work days!  It's busier, there are more bosses around and there's that big burning orb in the sky.  Yuk!

And yes, things are more interesting at night.

Wow, the UK's got the better deal by far.


Don't start packing just yet...our pension deals are poor, at the minute we're working till we're 67!!

Neil White said:

Don't start packing just yet...our pension deals are poor, at the minute we're working till we're 67!!


So are we, in most areas. :)

Night differential is 1.60 per hour for 6 hours.  If called out, then there is time and a half of regular pay for the duration of the call.  Despite relative absence of pay for night duty, we are obligated to stay in house.

A "differential" generally referes to additional pay above your normal pay to work an undesirable shift (i.e. night differential).  It sounds like your describing that you only get paid $1.60/hour at night unless you get a call.  If you are required to be at work (in the station) then I think you are required to make minimum wage.

Now if you were allowed to go home (or anywhere else you want) and are "on call" then I think it would be allowed.  For example my wife, a nurse, can be put on call.  She gets paid a small amount per hour and if she gets called in to work she has an hour to get there and makes overtime when she arrives.  While on call her only requirement is that she answers the phone and can be to work in an hour.

If I understand you correctly then at minimum your getting a bad deal and at worst your employer is breaking the law.  



Kalynne said:

Night differential is 1.60 per hour for 6 hours.  If called out, then there is time and a half of regular pay for the duration of the call.  Despite relative absence of pay for night duty, we are obligated to stay in house.

Scott Lancaster said:

I have heard of services doing that night pay BS where you really aren't paid your time, but you are required to be there. I don't understand how that can be legal - if you are required to be there aren't they required to pay you at least minimum wage?


The same part of the law that allows your employer to give you a half-hour unpaid lunch break without the ability to go home on an 8-hour shift allows your employer to give you eight hours of sleep time that are unpaid unless you work (but only if you are working a 24-hr shift). If I remember correctly, the law technically allows an employer using 24-hr shifts to only pay the employee for 14: 8 hours of sleep time and two 1-hr meal breaks. However, if you go out during those meal breaks or the sleep, they are required to pay you.

Thanks everyone for the great discussion! The impetus for the discussion is that our service has decided to stop paying differentials. The night was a little over $2 per hour and weekend a little over $4 per hour for paramedics, a little less for EMTs. This is obviously angering some, mostly the night people (obviously at ~$6,000/yr difference), but it had been promissed that most of our base pays will increase to cover the difference and have us all on = pay ground.

Our service is a "new" service that merged a previously hospital-based and two fire-based entities. Many of the P & Ps for the new service came from the hospital, mainly out of convenience, but now since we are more established as our own beast we have made specific policies.

From the discussion so far it seems that we had a pretty freakin' sweet deal. Everyone is still waiting for some exact numbers of our new pay, so hopefully not too much changes. At least everyone likes change, especially with their pay :) 

Scott Lancaster said:

That's right... It only applies to shifts >23:59, I remember that now. But the question remains, WHY would anyone agree to this?


Because it's more interesting than making the extra $1/hr at Arby's.

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