Flight Attendant Union Participates In Historic Implementation Of Flight Crew FMLA Corrections Act

Washington, DC – Nearly two decades after the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was signed into law, Flight Attendants and other flight crews are finally granted the same access to coverage that has long benefited working families.  Today, Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA) President Veda Shook took part in the official announcement from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis on the historic implementation of the Airline Flight Crew Family and Medical Leave Act.

“This is an exciting day for Flight Attendants and flight crew across the nation as Secretary Solis announces this proposed rule that provides peace of mind and real protections for hundreds of thousands of families,” said Shook. “As the world’s largest Flight Attendant union, AFA has worked tirelessly to ensure that flight crews are treated fairly and qualify for essential FMLA benefits. For decades, AFA has negotiated Flight Attendant contracts that have provided these vital protections and it is a monumental achievement that, from today forward, all airline workers have the ability to care for their families.”

The FMLA requires most employers to provide job-protected unpaid leave to employees who have worked 60 percent of a full-time schedule over the course of a year. However, the courts and federal agencies disregarded that original intent and narrowly defined the “full time schedule” as that of a traditional 40 hour work week, thereby excluding Flight Attendants whose schedules do not fall within the traditional 9-5 work day. The Airline Flight Crew FMLA corrects this misinterpretation of the original legislation and extends vital coverage to flight crews.

The rule-making proposed by the Hour and Wage Division of the Department of Labor provides specific instruction on how to implement the technical correction and apply the standards for crewmember benefits.

“Flight Attendants are first responders.  We are caregivers and it is critical that we also have the right to care for our families.  FMLA requires corporations to do the right thing.  For years, some airlines thought they had found a way around that.  We negotiated for equal treatment and then worked for legislation that provided a correction for all.  This rule-making finally puts into practice defined procedures for all crewmembers to access FMLA benefits,” Shook stated.

The Association of Flight Attendants is the world’s largest Flight Attendant union. Focused 100 percent on Flight Attendant issues, AFA has been the leader in advancing the Flight Attendant profession for over 65 years. Serving as the voice for Flight Attendants in the workplace, in the aviation industry, in the media and on Capitol Hill, AFA has transformed the Flight Attendant profession by raising wages, benefits and working conditions.  Nearly 60,000 Flight Attendants at 23 airlines come together to form AFA, part of the 700,000-member strong Communications Workers of America (CWA), AFL-CIO. Visit us at www.afacwa.org.

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