The Company and the Union have agreed to settle MEC 1-14 regarding vacation accrual while on Occupational Illness or Injury Leave.
Occupational Leave of Absence (L9 status)
Flight Attendants on Occupational Leave of Absence (L9 status) for any time during the 2016 vacation accrual period have previously been made whole when the vacations days to which they were entitled during this accrual period were manually added to their 2016 vacations. These Flight Attendants did not experience a vacation reduction and were provided the opportunity to bid their Contractual vacation periods.
Flight Attendants who were on Occupational Leave of Absence (L9 status) at any time during the period from January 13, 2013 through August 28, 2014, which encompassed the vacation accrual periods for 2014 & 2015 vacations, will be made whole. These individuals will receive a dollar amount payment equal to the dollar value of the vacation period plus, as a separate payment, the value that dollar amount would have contributed to Profit Sharing distributions. The payment for vacation time will be considered as “qualifying earnings” for the purpose of contributions to the 401(k) account while the payment for the Profit Sharing will not be considered as qualifying earnings.
The dollar amount payment will be calculated by multiplying the number of hours of vacation due by the hourly rate of pay in effect as of December 31, 2015. The settlement payment will be made prior to October 31, 2016 and will be identified on the pay advices of the affected Flight Attendants in two ways. The value of the vacation will be identified as “Settlement Elig” and the value for the Profit Sharing will be identified as “Settlement Non Elig”. Payment will be issued on an “off cycle” check (not a regular pay check.) prior to October 31, 2016.
Flight Attendants at International domiciles (FRA, HKG, LHR & NRT) who were impacted by the Settlement of the grievance received on their October mid-month paycheck an amount identified on the Pay Advice as “Retro”. A correction will be made to convert this previous “Retro” payment to a “Settlement Elig” payment. In addition, these same Flight Attendants at International domiciles will receive an additional payment equal to the value the dollar amount of the vacation payment would have contributed to the Profit Sharing distribution. This payment will be reflected as “Settlement – Non Elig”. Flight Attendants at International domiciles will see these entries on their November 1, 2016 Pay Advice.
Extended Occupational Illness or Injury (S2 status)
Flight Attendants who had accepted Occupational illness or injury claims who elected to supplement their Total Temporary Disability (TTD) payment with hours from their sick leave bank and who did not accumulate 97:30 of paid activity in the vacation accrual quarter(s) while supplementing their TTD with sick leave, are not included in this settlement. (Section 18.B.2. of the 2012-2016 Contract)
Going Forward - Important Considerations when on an Occupational Illness
As a result of the Settlement of MEC 1-14, it is critical for Flight Attendants to understand the choices you will be required to make if you are not flying as a result of an injury or illness on the job. The choices you make about your leave status and how you are paid may impact your vacation accrual.
If you are injured on the job and your occupational claim is accepted, our 2016 – 2021 Contract provides you with the following options:
Option #1 - Supplementing your TTD Payment with Sick Leave Hours
When supplementing your TTD with hours from your sick leave bank, you have three (3) options:
In either of these three options, the difference between the dollar value of the awarded line, or the 71-hour minimum, or 100-hour maximum and your TTD payment will be converted into hours, posted in your DFAP and paid from your sick leave bank. When selecting this option, if you do not accumulate 120 hours or more of paid activity during the quarter in which you are supplementing from your sick leave bank, you will not receive a full accrual of vacation for that quarter. (60 hours of paid activity for ½ vacation.) In this instance, vacation lost will not be restored.
Flight Attendants who elect to supplement their TTD with sick leave may have their vacation accrual reduced as provided in Section 12.A.2. of the Contract.
Option #2 - Occupational Leave of Absence Status
You may elect to begin an Occupational Leave of Absence – (L9 status). This is a leave of absence status where you will receive full vacation accrual during the period of leave. What must be clearly understood is that the Occupational Leave of Absence may not exceed three (3) years. Flight Attendants who exhaust the three (3) year leave period and who are unable to return to active service will be administratively separated or, if eligible, retired.
All questions relative to this award are to be directed to the Union by e-mail at MEC114@unitedafa.org. This is the exclusive method by which all inquiries will be processed.
Medical Verification Update
On Thursday, October 20th, management released a joint collective bargaining agreement implementation communication announcing a delay in the implementation of the provisions of Section 13.C. - Medical Verification. The delay, the result of the complexity of the process changes necessary to support all of the provisions of this section of the Contract, means all provisions will not be implemented in November.
Of equal importance, because these new provisions will not be implemented in November Flight Attendants will continue operating under the provisions of their respective pre-merger airline agreement. As an example, under the terms of pre-merger CAL and CMI agreements, the company may require medical verification of all sick calls originating during the Thanksgiving Holiday. Which includes the four (4) days before and the four (4) days after Thanksgiving as well as on Thanksgiving Day.
The company will first notify the Union and give Flight Attendants adequate notice as has been established by the Contract and practice at pre-merger CAL and CMI. Flight Attendants without an absence in the prior 12 calendar months will not be subject to the medical verification requirement imposed during the holidays.
If you have questions related to your pre-merger Contract medical verification requirements, please contact your Local Council Office.