Wage Information for Volunteers and Paid On-call Members of Fire Departments, Rescue Squads and Diving Teams

Setting the Average Weekly Wage for Volunteers and Paid On-call Members of Fire Departments, Rescue Squads and Diving Teams

When the injured worker has sustained a work-related injury or illness as a member of a volunteer fire company or a fire department organized under Ch. 213 Wis. Stats., or a legally organized rescue squad or diving team, the average weekly wage (AWW) is determined under the provision of DWD 80.30 Administrative Code. See s.102.07(7)(a) Wis. Stats.

DWD 80.30 establishes the average weekly earnings to be the maximum in effect on the date of the injury except where a specific showing may be made in individual cases where the maximum is not proper.

If the maximum rate is thought to be not proper for a volunteer and/or paid on-call member of fire departments, rescue squad or diving team, the AWW is then based on the equivalent earnings for a full-time position with the nearest full-time (career) fire department. When selecting a position with equivalent earnings, factors to be considered include, but are not limited to, the injured worker's years of service, level of experience and/or responsibility, certification, and training for the position.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. If a volunteer or paid on-call member was paid by the department when injured, why is that wage not used to determine the average weekly earnings?

    If the injured worker comes under the provisions of s.102.07(1)(a) the wage is set using DWD 80.30, not s. 102.11. The training or paid on-call wage is not representative of the injured worker's value to the public for the service performed. Thus, the AWW will be set at the maximum rate for the year of injury unless/until rebutted with the equivalent wage for a full-time position from the nearest (career) fire department.

  2. Isn't setting the wage for a volunteer or paid on-call firefighter or EMT by using an equivalent full-time (career) firefighter's earnings unrealistic, given the earnings actually received?

    The long-standing public policy in Wisconsin summed up in Sorenson v City of Elroy (W.C. Claim No. 83-49944, LIRC Jan. 27, 1988): "as previously stated, Ind. 80.30 also allows a respondent to rebut the presumption of maximum earnings, but only to the extent that there is a disparity between the maximum earnings figure and the usual going earnings paid to full-time firefighters . . .[the volunteer] may end up receiving compensation which bears no relation to his actual earning record or capacity. The legislature intended this result as a protection for volunteer firefighters and as an incentive for them to perform this important work. "Although the above case referred specifically to a firefighter, the Department's position concerning EMT's and others who fall under the provisions of s. 102.07(1)(c) is the same with regard to legislative intent, i.e., protection and incentive. Also see City of Elroy v. LIRC, 152 Wis. 2d 320, (Ct. App. 1989).

  3. If the injured worker is an EMT rather than a firefighter, why would the nearest fire department be used rather than a private ambulance service?

    A private ambulance service is not the equivalent of a rescue squad. Typically, a volunteer rescue squad performs duties far beyond those of an ambulance service and the personnel have been trained for those duties. These rescue duties are far more similar to those performed either by full-time EMT's or firefighter/EMT's with career fire departments. Also note that volunteer rescue squads have a wide variety of organizational names. They need not be named a "rescue squad" to come under the provisions of s. 102.07(1)(c).
  4. How is "nearest" full-time (career) fire department determined? 

    Functionally, that question is best answered by the fire department or rescue squad to which the injured worker belongs, as the "nearest" full-time (career) fire department will be called for mutual support when needed. (Note: Currently there are 36 public, full-time (career) fire departments in Wisconsin from which to determine "nearest." The Department does not use private, federal, state, tribal or military fire departments or brigades to determine equivalent earnings.)

WI DWD/WC/Wage 9/02 revised 10/13

Reporting Wages for Volunteer and Paid On-Call Members of Fire Departments, Rescue Squads and Diving Teams via the Internet and EDI

We do not distinguish between volunteer and paid-on-call or between fire fighter and EMT as all are covered by the same statute and administrative code.

WKC-12 First Report of Injury and the WKC-13 First Supplementary report

If conceding the MAXIMUM wage, check the box on the Internet WKC-12 and enter "Occupation" as Volunteer Fire Fighter/EMT. EDI users need to enter the maximum wage for the year of injury. Or, on the WKC-13 enter the wage determined from the full-time fire department used. By conceding the maximum rate on the WKC-12 or WKC-13, the WKC-13A is not required. Using the pending report you also may send us an e-mail stating that you are conceding maximum wage.

WKC-13A Wage Information Supplement

If you are rebutting the maximum wage with information from the nearest full-time fire department (see list below), you must file a WKC-13A.  Be sure you have acquired all the necessary information before attempting to send the WKC-13A.  Typically, the fire department will provide the bi-weekly wage for the number of years of service for your IW.  Divide the bi-weekly wage by two for the weekly rate and further divide by the normal schedule (usually 56) to get the hourly rate.  To get the gross earnings multiple the weekly rate by 52.  Note the rank and years of service for the rate used and the name and phone number of the contact providing the information. Do not use the actual wages of the injured worker.


Section 1. Pay Information:

1. Enter the hourly rate of the full time firefighter.  If the employee is paid a bi-weekly you will need to convert to an hourly rate (see above paragraph).

  1. Exceptional Basis of pay:

A. Use the drop down menu to select Volunteer FireFighter/EMT.

B. [comment section] Enter the name of the full-time (career) fire department you used to base your investigation of the wage. Give the annual salary of a paid full-time (career) firefighter and note the rank and years of experience. Also list the contact name and phone number of who provided the information to you for verification

Section 2. Gross wages:

  1. Enter the annual salary based on your investigation of a paid full-time (career) firefighter.
  2. Enter 52 weeks.
  3. Enter the actual date of hire of the injured worker.

Section 4. Scheduled Hours and Overtime Information:

1. . Enter regular schedule (56 hours is presumed by statute. If less than 56, note in comments).


Section 6. Insurer Contact Information:

Complete all requested information in 1, 2, and 3.


Regular Schedule* for Full-Time (Class 1 or Career) Fire Departments**

As Of October, 2013

Appleton Fire Dept.                     56 Kenosha Fire Dept.                56 Sheboygan Fire Dept.                  56
South Shore Consol Fire              56
Beloit Fire Dept.                         52,92 La Crosse Fire Dept.              56 Stevens Point Fire Dept.             56
Brookfield Fire Dept.                  56 Madison Fire Dept.                 48 Superior Fire Dept                      56
Caledonia Fire Dept.                  56 Manitowoc Fire Dept.             56 Waukesha Fire Dept.                  52.3
Chippewa Falls Fire & Emerg.   56 Marinette Fire Dept.              56 Wausau Fire Dept.                      56
Cudahy Fire Dept.                      56 Marshfield Fire & Rescue       56
Merrill Fire Dept.                    56
Milwaukee Fire Dept.            56
Wauwatosa Fire Dept.                56
West Allis Fire Dept                    56  
Wisconsin Rapids                       48
Eau Claire Fire Dept.                  56 Neenah-Menasha Fire Rescue 56
New Berlin Fire Dept.            56
Fond Du Lac City Fire Dept.       56 North Shore Fire Dept.          56  
Franklin Fire Dept.                     56 Oak Creek Fire Dept.            56  
Green Bay Fire Dept.                 53 Oshkosh Fire Dept.               56
Greenfield Fire Dept.                 56 Racine Fire Dept.                  56  
Janesville Fire Dept.                  56 Rhinelander Fire Dept.          56  

Wisc DWD/WC/Wage 10/2013

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