S. 1422: To amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews

S. 1422

To amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to clarify the eligibility requirements with respect to airline flight crews

Sponsor
Sen. Patty Murray

Date
December 3, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

The House is scheduled to consider S. 1422 under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage.  S. 1422 was introduced on July 9, 2009, by Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA).  The House passed a similar bill, H.R. 912, on February 2, 2009, by voice vote.  S. 1422 makes technical corrections to H.R. 912.

Bill Summary

S. 1422 establishes benchmarks to be used in determining whether an employee who is a member of a flight crew meets the hourly employment requirements to qualify for paid family and medical leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Many airline employees have concerns that the hours accumulated while "on-call" and in uniform have not been counted toward their FMLA eligibility.  S. 1422 states that eligible flight crew members are those who have worked or been paid for 60 percent of their employer's monthly hour or trip guarantee, or the equivalent annualized over the preceding 12-month period.

Background

The Family and Medical Leave Act requires certain employers to grant an eligible employee up to a total of 12 workweeks of unpaid leave during any 12 month period for certain reasons.  Reasons for granting leave listed in the Act include the birth and care of a newborn child of the employee and medical leave taken by the employee due to a serious health condition that renders them unable to work.  U.S. Department of Labor - Family and Medical Leave Act website.

Aside from the February 2, 2009, vote on H.R. 912, the House also passed under suspension of the rules a bill identical to H.R. 912, H.R. 2744, on May 20, 2008, by a vote of 402-9.

Cost

A CBO cost estimate is not yet available, but last Congress, CBO estimated that H.R. 2744 would have no significant impact on the federal budget.  CBO estimates that the direct cost of the already existing private-sector mandate would be below the threshold established by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) for private sector mandates.