WASHINGTON, DC—The Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) applauds the Department of Labor (DOL) for issuing a final rule today that guarantees flight crew members are not denied Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections.
With passage of the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act in 2009, Congress established new FMLA leave eligibility requirements that addressed the unique nature of flight crew member scheduling. However, this final rule provides necessary guidance to ensure that the new FMLA policies are consistently applied throughout the industry, and establish a basic benefit floor for all flight crew members regardless of their employer.
This ruling essentially confirms that these workers have been covered since Congress passed the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act of 2009, but also provides the guidance needed to calculate who meets the hours-worked threshold required by law to qualify.
“This ruling fixes a fundamental injustice that was not intended when the original act was passed two decades ago,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind. “Because these workers do not conform to a normal 40-hour work week model, they should not have to negotiate special provisions in their contracts in order to care for elderly or ill family members or take adequate maternity and paternity leave.”
The FMLA guarantees that eligible workers may take up to 12 weeks to care for themselves or a family member without risk of losing their jobs. But because the original law set a minimum number of hours worked per year, it did not properly translate to flight crew members who have duty-time limits. The 2009 Technical Corrections Act set a minimum hours-of-service eligibility requirement for flight crew.
“Work remains to ensure that all FMLA provisions adequately cover all transportation workers, including those in the rail sector,” said Wytkind.
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