WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following statement was offered by Edward Wytkind, President of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, following the House of Representatives’ vote to approve the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 2744):
“Congress never intended to exclude pilots and flight attendants from employment protections that are guaranteed by the Family and Medical Leave Act,” Wytkind said. “Today’s vote by the House of Representatives was the right thing to do for thousands of aviation workers across the country.”
Because of unusual time-keeping methods in the airline industry, flight crews find it difficult – if not impossible – to meet the 1,250-hour per year threshold required for Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) eligibility. Pilots are not even allowed to exceed 1,000 hours of flight time per year due to safety rules.
Pilots and flight attendants’ time on the clock begins when the airplane backs away from the gate and when it pulls back up to the gate upon arrival. Despite the fact that they only receive credit for time in flight, their jobs require many other duties that take place outside of flight time. Examples of time that do not count toward FMLA coverage includes layovers between connecting flights, and overnight stays in cities away from their families and homes.
“Flight crews have had to negotiate for FMLA benefits that should have been theirs from the start,” Wytkind said. “We thank Congressmen Tim Bishop and Thaddeus McCotter for their leadership on this important issue and helping to ensure its passage.”
The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, represents 32 member unions in the aviation, rail, transit, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries. For more information, visit www.ttd.org.