Home > News > Company to Award Four Month Special COLAs September - December 2017

Company to Award Four Month Special COLAs September - December 2017

Date: June 27, 2017

Inflight Scheduling will offer four (4) month Special COLAs ( Company Offered Leave of Absence) effective for the September - December 2017 bid months. Crew Schedule Planning will determine the actual number of Special COLAs that will be awarded at each base, in seniority order.

All Flight Attendants projected to be active for the September 2017 Bid Month are eligible to participate in the Special COLA program. 

The deadline to submit a bid for the September 2017 – December 2017 Special COLA is: 10:00am Central Time, Thursday, July 13th, 2017. 

Special COLAs will be awarded before One-Month COLA & Jobshares.

How do I submit a bid for the Special COLA?

pmCO: In CCS, from the Bidding menu, select  Special COLA request. 

pmUA: In Unimatic, input your request in the LOAREQ screen.
Under Type indicate SP with the following date ranges: 8/30/2017 to 12/29/2017

Benefits While on Special COLA

Health and welfare benefits

Flight attendants on Special COLA will be eligible to maintain their health and welfare coverages at the active employee contribution rate for the duration of the Special COLA.  However, while on the Special COLA, payroll deductions for these coverages will accumulate for up to 2 months AND an amount of $750.00.  Once the accumulation reaches $750.00 and no payroll deductions can be deducted (due to lack of or insufficient wages) for two (2) months, Flight Attendants will be provided a direct billing notice for the premium balance by the United Airlines Benefits Center.  

If the Flight Attendant returns to work prior to reaching $750.00 and 2 months of missed deductions, the accumulated deductions will be applied to the first paycheck which could result in a zero dollar paycheck.

Life Insurance:
Once a Flight Attendant reaches three (3) months of missed deductions for GUL Supplemental Life Insurance, the Insurance carrier (Securian) will direct bill the employee. If the Flight Attendant and/or spouse or domestic partner participates in the Group Universal Life (GUL) insurance plan, the Flight Attendant may request to continue to pay premiums directly to the carrier for coverage on an individual basis.  If the Flight Attendant wishes to pay premiums or after 3 months has not received billing information from Securian, the Flight Attendant should contact Securian at (1-866-877-1043).   When the Flight Attendant returns to receiving a paycheck and wants to move back from direct billing to payroll deductions, the Flight Attendant must contact Securian to re-establish payroll deductions.

Long-Term care insurance plan
If the Flight Attendant is enrolled in the long-term care insurance plan for which they have payroll deductions, coverage may be continued on a direct-bill basis.  Contact CNA at 1-800-339-9527 to provide CNA with their current home address and request to be placed on a direct-bill status.  Flight Attendants can also contact CNA with questions about their coverage.    If the Flight Attendant moves to direct billing, direct billing can continue or the Flight Attendant will need to notify CNA upon RTW in order to resume payroll deductions.

Pass Travel Benefits
Flight Attendants awarded the Special COLA and their eligible pass riders will have pass travel privileges on United and United Express at their current boarding priority for the duration of the Special COLA. Flight Attendants may use their remaining, unexpired buddy and vacation passes for the duration of the Special COLA.  Pleasure travel benefits while on Special COLA also include non-revenue positive space (NRPS) emergency travel and Discount 20 eligibility.  Interline travel and SA9W travel is not available while on a Special COLA.

Pay and Vacation Longevity Steps
Flight Attendants awarded the September 2017 COLA will receive credit towards pay and vacation longevity (steps.)

Vacation Accrual
Flight attendants awarded the Special COLA will not accrue vacation during the Special COLA.

Vacation Periods Scheduled During the Special COLA Period

Flight Attendants will be paid for any vacation periods that are scheduled to take place during the Special COLA at a rate of 3:15 per vacation day.   Vacation will be paid within 45 days.

Sick Leave
No sick-leave payments are made nor do sick-leave credits accrue while on Special COLA.

2017 – 2018 Vacation Bidding
During the period of the Special COLA, (September – December 2017), the contractual vacation bidding process set forth in Section 12 – Vacation of the JCBA will occur.  Flight Attendants awarded a Special Leave of Absence should participate in the bidding process and submit a bid according to the contractual timeline.  Vacation bidding information will be made available through One United on the Inflight Home Page on Flying Together and on unitedafa.org.

For 2018 vacation bidding, all Flight Attendants will bid under the terms of the JCBA.  Vacation bidding allocations will remain separate for each pre-merger group. Please carefully review the upcoming communications regarding vacation bidding and options.

Outside Employment
Section 15.A.3 of the JCBA provides that outside employment is permitted while on Special COLA with company approval.  Flight Attendants must request approval from their supervisor by submitting a letter with the name of the employing company and include details of their new job responsibilities.  The purpose of this requirement is to ensure there is no conflict of interest between the new job and United Airlines.  Flight Attendants will receive a written response to their request for outside employment.

Union Dues
Under the AFA Constitution and Bylaws, when a Flight Attendant takes an unpaid leave of absence which exceeds ninety (90) days, she/he has a dues obligation for the first ninety (90) days of the leave of absence.  The AFA Bylaws controls the duration of any dues obligation and may be subject to change based on any changes to those Bylaws.  Questions concerning dues should be directed to AFA Membership Services at 1-800-424-2401 X707.

Company Cancellation of Special COLA
Special COLAs may be cancelled at any time provided the company complies with the requirements established in Section 15.B.7. and you will be required to return to active service.

Training Requirements During a Special COLA
As provided in Section 15.A.4. of the JCBA, a Flight Attendant may attend training while on leave and will be paid and provided with transportation and lodging as if she/he were in active service.  Flight Attendants may be required to attend training when on a COLA or a Special COLA provided that requirement is made known to her/him prior to accepting the leave.

Transfers While on Special COLA
A Flight Attendant on leave of absence my request and be granted a transfer.

A Flight Attendant on medical, maternity, or military leave shall continue in leave status following the award of a voluntary transfer

A Flight Attendant on COLA or Special COLA may request to continue her/his leave at the new base following the award of a voluntary transfer.  The Company may grant such request.  If not, the Flight Attendant shall return from leave status on the effective date of her/his transfer to the new location.

In the event of an involuntary transfer due to surplus or base closure, she/he will continue on leave and will be reassigned, for administrative purposes, to her/his new base as of the transfer effective date.

Return to Work 

Early Return from Special COLA
A Flight Attendant granted a COLA may not return prior to the expiration of the leave unless approved by the Company.  The Company may agree to end a Flight Attendant’s COLA early in the case of personal hardship.

Scheduled Return from Special COLA
As provided in Section 15.A.6 of the JCBA, upon returning from an authorized leave of absence or any extension thereof, a Flight Attendant shall be permitted to return in the same status at the same base to which she/he was assigned prior to beginning the leave or in accordance with the involuntary transfer provisions of Section 15.A.5.d.

A Flight Attendant who is unable to return from a leave at the scheduled time due to personal illness, injury or pregnancy will remain on Special Leave of Absence status with the same benefits (insurance & pass travel) as stated in the Special Leave of Absence packet except for seniority accrual.  As provided by Section 15.E. of the JCBA, her/his seniority will be protected by the Medical Leave provisions for a period not to exceed the lesser of the following:

     The period of disability
     Three (3) years, or
     The Flight Attendant total length of active service with the company.

It should be noted that the medical leave will commence the day following the original end day of the Special COLA.

The following Q and A  is available for more information: Questions and Answers.pdf

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