(1) QUALIFICATIONS FOR SUPPLEMENTAL COMPENSATION.–The Legislature recognizes the need for supplemental compensation for firefighters who pursue higher educational opportunities that directly relate to the improvement of the health, safety, and welfare of firefighters and those who firefighters protect. The State Fire Marshal shall determine, and adopt by rule, the coursework or degrees that represent the best practices toward this goal in the field of firefighting.
(a) In addition to the compensation now paid by a fire service provider to any firefighter, every firefighter shall be paid supplemental compensation by the fire service provider when such firefighter is a full-time employee, as determined by the employing fire service provider, and has complied with one of the following criteria:
1. A firefighter who receives an associate degree from an accredited college, which degree is directly applicable to fire department duties, as outlined in policy guidelines adopted by rule by the division, shall be additionally compensated as outlined in paragraph (2)(a).
2. A firefighter, regardless of whether or not she or he earned an associate degree earlier, who receives from an accredited college or university a bachelor’s degree, which bachelor’s degree is directly applicable to fire department duties, as outlined in policy guidelines adopted by rule by the division, shall receive compensation as outlined in paragraph (2)(b).
Terms Used In Florida Statutes 633.422
- Appropriation: The provision of funds, through an annual appropriations act or a permanent law, for federal agencies to make payments out of the Treasury for specified purposes. The formal federal spending process consists of two sequential steps: authorization
- Department: means the Department of Financial Services. See Florida Statutes 633.102
- Division: means the Division of State Fire Marshal within the Department of Financial Services. See Florida Statutes 633.102
- Fire service provider: means a municipality or county, the state, the division, or any political subdivision of the state, including authorities and special districts, that employs firefighters or uses volunteer firefighters to provide fire extinguishment or fire prevention services for the protection of life and property. See Florida Statutes 633.102
- Firefighter: means an individual who holds a current and valid Firefighter Certificate of Compliance or Special Certificate of Compliance issued by the division under…. See Florida Statutes 633.102
(b) If any question arises as to the eligibility of any firefighter to receive supplemental compensation as provided in this section, the question, together with all facts relating thereto, must be submitted to the division for determination, and the decision of the division with regard to determination of eligibility shall be final, subject to chapter 120.
(2) SUPPLEMENTAL COMPENSATION.–Supplemental compensation shall be determined as follows:
(a) Fifty dollars shall be paid monthly to each firefighter who qualifies under subparagraph (1)(a)1.
(b) One hundred and ten dollars shall be paid monthly to each firefighter who qualifies under subparagraph (1)(a)2.
(a) The fire service provider is responsible for the correct payment of firefighters pursuant to this section. The division may review, in a postaudit capacity, any action taken by an agency in administering the educational incentive program. The fire service provider shall take appropriate action when a postaudit shows that an action taken by the fire service provider was in error.
(b) Each fire service provider employing firefighters who are eligible for this compensation shall submit reports containing information relating to compensation paid as a result of this section to the division on March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31 of each year.
(c) There is appropriated from the Police and Firefighter‘s Premium Tax Trust Fund to the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund, which is created under the Department of Revenue, all moneys which have not been distributed to municipalities and special fire control districts in accordance with s. 175.121 as a result of the limitation contained in s. 175.122 on the disbursement of revenues collected pursuant to chapter 175 or as a result of any municipality or special fire control district not having qualified in any given year, or portion thereof, for participation in the distribution of the revenues collected pursuant to chapter 175. The total required annual distribution from the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund shall equal the amount necessary to pay supplemental compensation as provided in this section, provided that:
1. Any deficit in the total required annual distribution shall be made up from accrued surplus funds existing in the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund on June 30, 1990, for as long as such funds last. If the accrued surplus is insufficient to cure the deficit in any given year, the proration of the appropriation among the counties, municipalities, and special fire service taxing districts shall equal the ratio of compensation paid in the prior year to county, municipal, and special fire service taxing district firefighters pursuant to this section. This ratio shall be provided annually to the Department of Revenue by the division. Surplus funds that have accrued or accrue on or after July 1, 1990, shall be redistributed to municipalities and special fire control districts as provided in subparagraph 2.
2. By October 1 of each year, any funds that have accrued or accrue on or after July 1, 1990, and remain in the Firefighters’ Supplemental Compensation Trust Fund following the required annual distribution shall be redistributed by the Department of Revenue pro rata to those municipalities and special fire control districts identified by the Department of Management Services as being eligible for additional funds pursuant to s. 175.121(3)(b).
(d) Salary incentive payments to firefighters shall commence in the first full calendar month following the initial date of certification of eligibility by the division.
(e) Special fire service taxing districts are authorized to spend the funds necessary to ensure correct payment to firefighters.
(4) LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.–The payment of supplemental compensation and expenses of the administration provided by this section is found to serve a state, county, district, and municipal purpose and to provide benefit to the state and to its counties, municipalities, and districts.
(5) APPLICABILITY.–For the purposes of this section, the department shall be considered a fire service provider responsible for the payment of supplemental compensation in accordance with this section to firefighters employed full time by the department.