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Wage and Hour Division (WHD)


FACT SHEET: FINAL RULE TO IMPLEMENT STATUTORY AMENDMENTS TO THE FAMILY AND MEDICAL LEAVE ACT RELATING TO AIRLINE FLIGHT CREW EMPLOYEES

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles eligible employees of covered employers to take unpaid, job-protected leave for specified family and medical reasons. Employees are eligible for the FMLA protections if they work for a covered employer, have worked for the employer for at least 12 months, meet the hours of service requirement, and work at a site where the employer has at least 50 employees within 75 miles. See Fact Sheet #28: The Family and Medical Leave Act - Overview for further information about the FMLA.

The Airline Flight Crew Technical Corrections Act (AFCTCA) amended the FMLA by establishing a special hours of service eligibility requirement for airline flight crewmembers and flight attendants (as those terms are defined by the Federal Aviation Administration). The AFCTCA also established special recordkeeping requirements for covered employers of airline flight crewmembers and flight attendants and authorized the Department to issue regulations providing a method of calculating FMLA leave usage specific to airline flight crewmembers and flight attendants. The Department issued a Final Rule implementing and interpreting these statutory amendments.

The Final Rule includes a new Subpart H to address all special provisions relating to airline flight crewmembers and flight attendants (collectively referred to in the Final Rule as airline flight crew employees) to enhance the clarity and utility of the regulations applicable to this specific group of employees. This new subpart includes:

Special hours of service eligibility requirement. Airline flight crew employees will meet the hours of service eligibility requirement if they have worked or been paid for not less than 60 percent of the applicable total monthly guarantee and have worked or been paid for not less than 504 hours during the 12 months prior to their leave.

Special method of calculation of leave. An eligible airline flight crew employee is entitled to 72 days of leave during any 12-month period for FMLA-qualifying reasons other than military caregiver leave and 156 days of leave during a single 12-month period for military caregiver leave. The Final Rule also provides that, if an airline flight crew employee takes leave intermittently or on a reduced schedule, the employer must account for the leave using an increment no greater than one day.

Recordkeeping requirements. The Final Rule requires that, in addition to generally applicable FMLA recordkeeping requirements, covered employers of airline flight crew employees must maintain records or documents containing the applicable monthly guarantee for each category of employee to whom the guarantee applies, including copies of any relevant collective bargaining agreements or employer policy documents. Covered employers of airline flight crew employees must also maintain records of the airline flight crew employees’ hours worked and hours paid.

The full text of the FMLA Final Rule can be found here.

For additional information on the FMLA, please visit www.dol.gov/whd/fmla.

For Information on the effective date, click here.