Wilton firefighters have more time to use vacation hours that piled up due to pandemic

The Wilton Fire Commission granted Local 2233, the Wilton Firefighters Union, the ability to rollover vacation to Aug. 31.

The Wilton Fire Commission granted Local 2233, the Wilton Firefighters Union, the ability to rollover vacation to Aug. 31.

Bryan Haeffele / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — Members of the local firefighters union will have more time to use their vacation time that has piled up due to the pandemic.

The Wilton Fire Commission voted last week to allow members of Local 2233 to have until Aug. 31 to use 36 hours of vacation time that was set to expire in June.

Due to the increased demand for firefighters to be on-call over the last year, the union asked the town to consider rolling over its vacation hours from the fiscal year 2021 into FY 2022.

“One of the things I hope you would take into consideration, is that with the overtime coming up and with the amount of work everyone has been doing and not taking vacations, there are going to be a lot of vacations being taken,” Local 2233 representative Dave Chaloux said during last week’s fire commission meetings, referencing the time period near the end of the fiscal year set to end in June.

“The other side of that means that there are going to be a lot of people working a lot of different hours,” Chaloux said. “And sometimes that’s not so healthy, either.”

Chaloux requested the commission and its chairman, Casey Nealy, to extend the period firefighters could use their vacation days to avoid staff shortages and overworking members due to scheduling conflicts.

“Even though we are only in March, do you think the vacations will pile up toward the end of May and June?” Nealy asked.

Chaloux said many members have not been taking vacations and haven’t been able to use their allotted time from this year, but have used their time rolled over from fiscal year 2020.

Chaloux referred to the circumstances that would allow for the rollover of vacation time, pointing to the language in the union’s contract with the town and its contractual basis of “exceptional circumstances.”