Home Business Companies called to release volunteer firefighters: what are the rules?

Companies called to release volunteer firefighters: what are the rules?

Companies called to release volunteer firefighters: what are the rules?

The volunteer firefighter activity entitles the worker to a leave of absence that the employer cannot deny, unless it seriously disrupts the organization of the company.

As exceptional fires have multiplied in France since the beginning of the summer, Gérald Darmanin on Wednesday called on communities and companies to release from their duties the volunteer firefighters they employ to strengthen the fire-fighting system.

According to the Internal Security Code, a volunteer firefighter has the right to be absent from his company for “operational missions related to emergency relief to victims of accidents, incidents or catastrophes and their evacuation, as well as the protection of people, property and the environment, in case of danger”.

This is called exceptional leave. They are also valid for training actions for firefighters and also refer to employees who participate in the activities of organizations that help victims of natural disasters or in international mutual assistance missions.


For his part, the employer cannot oppose the absence of his worker. Unless this is incompatible with the maintenance of production or the continuity of the public service. In addition, “no dismissal, no professional demotion, or any disciplinary sanction can be pronounced against a worker due to absences”, he affirmed to exercise a volunteer firefighter activity.

France has more than 197,000 volunteer firefighters who represent almost 80% of firefighters.

In principle, exceptional leave is not paid: the employee in question only receives the compensation that corresponds to him for his activity as a firefighter. However, the employer may decide to maintain the employee’s salary and related benefits during the employee’s absence. In which case, he has the right to request the collection, instead of the volunteer firefighter, of the compensation owed by the Fire and Rescue Corps (SDIS).

An agreement between the employer and SDIS

Finally, it should be noted that both private and public employers may enter into an “agreement with SDIS to specify the terms and conditions of availability” of the volunteer firefighter for operational missions and training sessions. This type of agreement allows for better organization and planning of leave requests.

The signing of an agreement also implies setting an absence threshold from which new absence authorizations give rise to financial compensation and tax advantages for the company. Since the publication of a decree on August 4, those who have concluded such agreements can also receive the label “employer partner of firefighters”.

Author: Paul-Louis
Source: BFM TV


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