What's involved

Agreeing on a plan for incident release

Your decision to allow your employee to respond to an incident while at work is significant.

We recognise that it may not be possible to release your employee to every incident and recommend you reach a joint agreement or leave policy for incident response during work hours. This may include:

  • Releasing your volunteer during certain times of the day, such as quieter periods
  • Enabling flexible working hours that allow your employee the opportunity to make up time
  • Using personal leave or unpaid leave or introducing paid emergency services leave
  • Encouraging your employee to access our support services after challenging incidents
  • Recognising and making use of the skills that volunteer employees gain from volunteering with us

Here are example contract clauses you may wish to incorporate into your leave policy.

Training and loss of income

Our volunteers are required to attend Fire and Emergency training courses so they are well prepared to respond to emergencies. They can also claim loss of income from us for this training.

The level of training varies from role to role. Your volunteer will be able to supply you with an understanding of what this will look like for them.

Injury while volunteering

You’re not expected as an employer of a volunteer to cover the cost of lost wages if your employee is injured while volunteering for us.

Under the UFBA (United Fire Brigade’ Association) Accident Assurance Scheme, Fire and Emergency New Zealand volunteers injured on duty can receive:

  • payment for loss of wages in the first week of injury
  • an allowance of 20 percent of wages for any more time off to top off the 80 percent paid by ACC.

For more information, head to ufba.org.nz.

Wellness and support

Response to Fire and Emergency incidents can be mentally and physically tiring for volunteers.

You can support your employee when they’ve returned to work from an incident by being aware of any signs that they’re not coping mentally or physically. Signs of anxiety after attending a difficult incident are part of a normal stress response but if they continue for some time, they could be a sign that your employee needs support.

Fire and Emergency provide access to healthcare such as annual health checks, vaccinations, and wellbeing support services. If you’re concerned that your employee has been affected by an incident, please contact their Chief Fire Officer or Controller. They can step in and ensure your volunteer receives further support.