On Monday, December 21, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act. The legislation extends FMLA coverage to approximately 50,000 airline pilots and flight attendants. Because of the way that airlines calculated work hours, flight crews who frequently travel overnight often did not meet the 1250 work-hours eligibility requirement. As such, they were not eligible to take FMLA leave. To rectify that problem, the legislation modified the FMLA work hours requirement for flight crew members. A flight crew member satisfies the work hours requirement if -
- the employee has worked or been paid at least 60 percent of the monthly guarantee for the previous 12-month period; and
- the employee has worked or been paid for not less than 504 hours during the previous 12-month period.
The legislation also directs the DOL to issue conforming regulations to implement the legislation.
Comment: For my taste, the legislation was drafted to narrowly. The legislation should have addressed the practice and not just the industry. Other industries in the transportation sector calculate work hours the same as airlines where individuals or crews travel overnight. Do we really need a railroad crew technical corrections act? A bus drivers technical corrects act? A long haul trucker technical corrections act? etc. Congress should have fixed the problem for all industries instead of limiting the fix only to the better organized employees.