FMLA and You – Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA)

Date: October 28, 2011
Type: AFA Article

medical leaveWhat is it and why is it important to United Flight Attendants?

The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) is a United States federal law requiring covered employers to provide employees job-protected unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons. These reasons include personal or family illness, military service, family military leave, pregnancy, adoption or the foster care placement of a child.  The FMLA is administered by the Wage and Hour Division of the United States Department of Labor.

The Airline Crewmember Technical Corrections Act is an addendum to the federal FMLA and was signed into federal law by President Obama in 2009.  The addendum recognizes the unusual aspects of our variable work hours, and has ensured many more Flight Attendants now qualify for these important job protections.  We want our membership to know and understand their rights and responsibilities under the federal FMLA to the extent the law applies to them.*

When you visit the United AFA MEC website Family Leave section, you will find the appropriate applications for your Health Care Provider to fill out when you are considering Family Leave for yourself as the employee, as well as separate applications to cover caring for an eligible family member, Military Caregiver Leave, and Qualifying Exigency Leave where you are able to attend to your family members’ affairs while the member is on active duty in support of a military contingency operation.

It is recommended that the federal application forms be used because most Health Care Providers are familiar with these standardized documents more so than the sometimes-confusing and possibly unfamiliar questions in the Company-provided forms. 

In addition, you will also find step-by-step instructions guiding you through the United Airlines’ Family Leave process.  The Company has specific responsibilities in this process but so does the employee.  The best time to learn about Family Leave is before you need it.  At a minimum, know the first steps to take when the need for leave cannot be anticipated as well as how to plan when the need for Family Leave is known in advance. 

Whether it be a one-time occurrence or an ongoing chronic condition, you may be eligible for Family Leave and thus avoid ‘points’ associated with any non-qualifying absences.  If you have an on-the-job Occupational Injury, it may benefit you to apply for Family Leave for the same condition.

AFA’s goal is to make available the information, which will assist you in understanding your responsibilities and rights when you, or an eligible family member, are faced with a serious health condition and/or circumstances qualifying for a job-protected absence.

Please visit the unitedafa.org website where basic eligibility information is currently available and will be updated as additional information and clarifications will be published.

*Flight Attendants at International locations may not be covered by U.S. Federal law but are covered by company policy.

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