HARRISBURG – The state Senate today approved a bill introduced by Sen. Judy Ward (R-30), Senate Bill 423, that would enable the state to hire more part-time fire instructors by removing a hurdle standing in the way.
“I’m excited that the Senate was able to pass my bill to remove an obstacle that prevents qualified fire instructors from returning to perform part-time work,” Ward said. “Many of these fire instructors have years of experience they could share with the firefighters they would teach, but the current pension rules prevent them from teaching after a certain point and fully utilizing that experience.”
State workers who retire and begin collecting a pension through the State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) cannot return to work for the state, including as a fire instructor, without halting their pension payments.
“Fire companies across the state are struggling with workforce shortages and are having trouble finding qualified fire fighters,” said Ward. “This legislation would help to put more highly trained firefighters in the communities that desperately need them.”
Senate Bill 423 would enable retired state employees to serve as part-time, state-certified fire instructors while continuing to collect their SERS pensions.
The retirees’ part-time service as fire instructors would not enhance their pension benefits.
Ward’s bill now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration. Last session the legislation was able to receive passage in both chambers, but the session ended before it could be considered for a concurrence vote.
Residents can follow Ward on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/SenJudyWard and Twitter @SenatorJWard for news about legislation and the 30th Senate District. Contact information for her district offices and other information can be found on her website at SenatorJudyWard.com, and constituents also can sign up for her e-newsletter at SenatorJudyWard.com/enewsletters.
Contact: Nathan Akers