30 Years of FMLA; Protecting Our Rights to Leave

30 Years of FMLA & Protecting Our Rights to Leave

February 13, 2023 - FMLA is extremely important to Flight Attendants. We fought for the technical correction to recognize our unique workplace and ensure that Flight Attendants had access to the law like other workers. 

Last week, the Department of Labor and the Department of Health and Human Services invited unions and activists to the DOL to mark the 30th anniversary of the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) – landmark legislation that has helped millions of working families in America. 

Mesa AFA Flight Attendant Jacqueline Guy and Mesa AFA President Maggie Fox were invited to the event to highlight the ongoing work that the DOL and our union does to enforce the law. 

Jacqueline has been flying for Mesa Air for nearly seven years. Like many Flight Attendants, she's had to deal with personal medical issues and utilize FMLA. After having intermittent FMLA for a year, Jacqueline was suddenly denied by management for supposedly "not having enough hours to qualify." Flight Attendants must accrue 504 hours worked or paid in a 12-month period. Mesa management argued it could just count the flight hours and not her duty hours. 

She decided to resign for fear of being terminated over time off to take care of herself. Shortly after, Jacqueline reached out to our union, Mesa AFA and AFA Legal, who worked with her and several other Flight Attendants to file complaints with the Department of Labor for violations of FMLA and build the case against management. 

And we won! Last year, the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona affirms that FMLA eligibility for flight attendants is based on hours worked or paid and not just flight hours. Jacqueline returned to the line shortly after with back pay and seniority restored. "It's been so exciting to come back to line," Jacqueline said. "I'm so thankful for AFA and DOL for fighting for my job."This job is like nothing else — I missed it! So happy to be back."

Had management been successful it could have had far reaching implications for all Flight Attendants and undermined Congress’s intent in ensuring that Flight Attendants would be able to become eligible for FMLA. We're celebrating 30 years of FMLA and fighting forward to ensure paid leave for all! 

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