This board endorses Proposition 11 on the grounds that it will improve public safety and provide just compensation for emergency personnel in the least burdensome manner possible.
Proposition 11 would require paramedics and emergency medical technicians to remain on call during their breaks. The proposition would also require the employers of these medical professionals to compensate them for all break time. The state legislative analyst has estimated that the measure would save local governments millions of dollars annually as a result of lower contract costs with ambulance companies.
The proposition would also align regulations on paramedics and EMTs with accepted practice for other safety personnel, such as police and firefighters. In a line of work in which mere seconds can make the difference between life and death, paramedics and EMTs carry great responsibility that they should be able to act upon at all times.
But Proposition 11 doesn’t add to this burden. It merely recognizes in law what has long been recognized: that emergency personnel must be on call at all hours. The measure requires employers to provide additional training for these emergency personnel and offer them paid mental health services.
In all likelihood, Proposition 11 will not require paramedics and EMTs to work longer hours. What it will ensure is that these invaluable medical professionals are properly compensated for the many hours they put in.