President Obama Expected to Sign FMLA Amendment To Permit Airline Pilots and Flight Attendants To Qualify for FMLA Leave

On December 2, 2009, the House by voice vote gave final congressional approval to the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act, which would amend the FMLA to permit airline pilots and flight attendants to qualify for leave.  The measure has been sent to President Obama, who is expected to sign it.  The Act is similar to a bill that passed the House earlier this year. 

FMLA Leave for flight attendants and pilots?

On May 14, 2008, the House Education and Labor Committee unanimously approved the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (H.R. 2744), which clarifies that full-time flight attendants and pilots are covered under the FMLA.  The bill would close a loophole that effectively excludes more than 200,000 flight attendants and pilots from coverage under the FMLA.

Because the flight schedules for most full-time attendants and pilots are calculated only according to their "in-flight" time, a full-time schedule for a flight attendant or pilot is almost always less than the 1,250 hours needed to qualify for leave under the FMLA.  Under H.R. 2744, a flight attendant or pilot will be eligible for leave under the FMLA if he or she has been paid for or has worked 60% of the employer's monthly hour or trip guarantee, or the equivalent annualized over the preceding 12-month period.

To read the Bill, please click here.