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Can flight attendants and crewmembers use FMLA?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2018 | Employee Benefits |

New York is a transit hub and given the number of airports in the area, there are many airline employees who reside in the city. Those who are concerned about their employee benefits under the law should be aware that in certain circumstances, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) will have different rules for some workers. One is for airline employees who work as flight crew members and flight attendants. While FMLA gives unpaid time off for medical reasons and for specific family members, it is important for these airline employees to know how the variances in coverage based on their occupation affects them.

Based on FMLA, a flight crewmember or flight attendant will be classified as a member of a flight crew. There is a requirement for service hours for the member of the flight crew to be eligible for FMLA. The crewmember or flight attendant will be eligible in the following circumstances: if he or she worked and was paid for a minimum of 60 percent of the applicable monthly guarantee; and he or she worked and was paid for a minimum of 504 hours. The monthly guarantee is based on the number of hours that the employer agreed to schedule the worker. This does not apply to workers on reserve status.

If the airline employee who falls into this category meets the requirements, he or she will get up to 72 days of time off based on FMLA in a 12-month period. It can be for the birth of a child, adoption or a child being in foster care; due to the serious health condition of a close relative; if the worker has a serious health condition; or if there is a qualifying need based on a loved one being in the military. Those 72-days stem from the six-day workweek. A military caregiver can get 156 days off within 12 months.

Since being a flight attendant or a crewmember for an airline has different requirements and hours, the rules for FMLA differ accordingly. According to labor law, airline crewmembers and flight attendants can get FMLA if they meet the requirements. When there is an issue with the employer giving workers their time off based on FMLA, it is important for the union to discuss the case with a law firm that is experienced in assisting them to maximize their rights and understands the different rules that apply based on certain occupations.