Implementation Guidelines Issued for FMLA Protections

Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a final rule implementing the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) protections for airline flight crews as well as new military leave provisions.

In 2009, with ALPA’s support, Congress passed the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act to assure that flightcrew members would be able to get the full benefits of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which were previously not afforded to pilots because of the unique nature of flight- and duty-time rules. The Labor Department followed key recommendations by ALPA in the approach it chose to adopt for these implementing regulations.

The DOL regulations provide that an airline flight crew employee meets the hours of service requirement for FMLA if, during the previous 12-month period, he or she (1) has worked or been paid for not less than 60 percent of the applicable total monthly guarantee (or the equivalent) and (2) has worked or been paid for not less than 504 hours, not including personal commute time or time spent on vacation, medical, or sick leave.

DOL also determined that flightcrew members are entitled to an FMLA bank of 72 days, with a day as the minimum increment of usage (unless the employee returns to work on the same day).