(1) An eligible employee may transfer into the merger district by filing a written request with the board of fire commissioners of the merger district and by giving written notice to the board of fire commissioners of the merging district. Upon receipt of such request by the board of the merger district the transfer of employment shall be made. The employee so transferring will (a) be on probation for the same period as are new employees of the merger district in the position filled, but if the transferring employee has already completed a probationary period as a firefighter prior to the transfer, then the employee may only be terminated during the probationary period for failure to adequately perform assigned duties, not meeting the minimum qualifications of the position, or behavior that would otherwise be subject to disciplinary action, (b) be eligible for promotion no later than after completion of the probationary period, (c) receive a salary at least equal to that of other new employees of the merger district in the position filled, and (d) in all other matters, such as retirement, vacation, and sick leave, have, all the rights, benefits, and privileges to which he or she would have been entitled to as an employee of the merger district from the beginning of employment with the merging district: PROVIDED, That for purposes of layoffs by the merger fire agency, only the time of service accrued with the merger agency shall apply unless an agreement is reached between the collective bargaining representatives of the employees of the merging and merger fire agencies and the merging and merger fire agencies. The board of the merging district shall, upon receipt of such notice, transmit to the board of the merger district a record of the employee's service with the merging district which shall be credited to such employee as a part of the period of employment in the merger district. All accrued benefits are transferable provided that the recipient agency provides comparable benefits. All benefits shall then accrue based on the combined seniority of each employee in the recipient agency.
(2) As many of the transferring employees shall be placed upon the payroll of the merger district as the merger district determines are needed to provide services. These needed employees shall be taken in order of seniority and the remaining employees who transfer as provided in this section and RCW 52.06.110
shall head the list for employment in order of their seniority, to the end that they shall be the first to be reemployed in the merger district when appropriate positions become available: PROVIDED, That employees who are not immediately hired by the fire protection district shall be placed on a reemployment list for a period not to exceed thirty-six months unless a longer period is authorized by an agreement reached between the collective bargaining representatives of the employees of the merging and merged fire agencies and the merging and merged fire agencies.