Airline Flight Crew Employees And The FMLA

By harley erbe

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Special FMLA rules apply to airline flight crew employees.  Those special rules govern the areas of FMLA eligibility, calculating FMLA leave, and maintaining records.  Other than those special rules, airline flight crew employees are governed by the remainder of the FMLA's requirements, just like other FMLA-eligible employees. 

Under the FMLA, an airline flight crew employee is an airline flight crewmember or flight attendant.  Not every airline employee will be covered by the FMLA's special rules for airline flight crew employees.  For example, employees who work in ticketing or on the ground crew, but do not actually fly in a plane as an employee, would be outside the scope of the special rules.

Like other employees, airline flight crew employees must meet an hours-of-service requirement over a twelve-month period to be covered by the FMLA.  There are two requirements regarding airline flight crew members' hours of service:  (1) the employee must have worked or been paid for not less than 60 percent of the employee’s applicable monthly guarantee; and (2) worked or been paid for at least 504 hours.  "Hours worked" worked means the employee’s duty hours during the twelve-month period.  "Hours paid" means the number of hours for which an employee received wages during the twelve-month period. 

Airline flight crew employees may use FMLA leave for the same purposes as other types of employees: 

  • for the birth of a child or placement of a child for adoption or foster care
  • to care for the employee’s spouse, son, daughter, or parent with a serious health condition
  • for the employee’s own serious health condition
  • for any qualifying exigency arising out of the fact that a spouse, son, daughter, or parent is a military member on covered active duty

Airline flight crew employees are entitled to up to 72 days of FMLA leave during a rolling twelve-month period.

FMLA cases require legal analysis of federal statutes, U.S. Department of Labor regulations, and court decisions.  I can help you with any employment law or labor law questions that you might have.  Please feel free to contact me if there's an employment law or labor law matter I can help you with.

By Harley Erbe

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