WIN: Court Affirms FMLA Eligibility for Flight Attendants is Based on Hours Worked or Paid, Not Just Flight Hours

WIN: Federal Court Affirms That FMLA Eligibility for Flight Attendants is Based on Hours Worked or Paid and Not Just Flight Hours

September 17, 2022 — In a case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, our union filed an amicus, or “friend of the court,” brief supporting the U.S. Department of Labor over the issue of determining which types of hours are used to determine FMLA eligibility. This issue came about because Mesa was arguing that they had the unilateral ability to determine FMLA eligibility based on flight hours alone and not for all duty hours. Management also tried to claim that duty hours are “not defined.” The Mesa AFA Leadership collected reports and helped AFA legal build the case for our collective rights under FMLA. 

Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, Flight Attendants are eligible for job-protected leave when they have worked or been paid 504 hours and 60 percent of their guarantee in a rolling 12-month period.

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. When we fight we win.

Did you know? Flight Attendants originally rarely qualified for FMLA due to our unique schedules. Since our hours of work don’t equate to a normal 40 hour work week, it was virtually impossible to meet the minimum work hours originally established under the Family Medical Leave Act. AFA got to work on a legislative solution to correct this injustice. In 2009, after being deluged by Flight Attendant letters and actions coordinated by AFA, the Senate passed S. 1422 with bi-partisan support - mirroring an earlier adopted House bill - and on December 21, 2009, President Obama signed the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, P.L. 111-119 into law. Read more >

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