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Technology Error Impacts Eligibility Determination for Family Medical Leave

Date: July 12, 2019

During the period beginning May 31, 2017 through February 13, 2019, an information
technology error related to the calculation of hours worked in determining eligibility for Family Medical Leave (FML) was identified.  This error was brought to the attention of the company by AFA after the Union conducted an audit of the hours worked for a number of Flight Attendants who should have been eligible for FML.

Following a series of meetings with the company where a number of individual case discrepancies were reviewed, United management directed a comprehensive review of those cases where individuals were advised they were not eligible for FML as well as of those cases where individuals were separated from the company as a result of exceeding the thirty (30) attendance point maximum set forth in Section 23.G. of our JCBA.

In discussions with AFA, it was determined that the comprehensive review would be broken down into three categories as follows:

  • A manual calculation of the eligibility for FML and review of absences for those individuals who were separated because their attendance point totals exceeded thirty (30) points.
  • A manual calculation of the eligibility for FML and review of absences for those individuals who were still working and who had been assessed attendance points after having been determined to be ineligible for Family Medical Leave.
  • A review of the absences for those individuals who were advised either by Help Hub (& its associated displays) or the Employee Service Center they were ineligible for FML for not having met the hours worked requirement.

In category 1, as of July 12, 2019, a manual review of the affected Flight Attendants has been completed. There were a limited number of circumstances where Flight Attendants who had been separated improperly as a result of an incorrect FML eligibility calculation have been contacted, extended an offer of re-employment and have either returned to the line or are in the process of returning to flying.

In category 2, manual calculations were completed in conjunction with a work history review.  These individuals have been contacted by their respective supervisors and those absences that would have qualified for FML have been reclassified and attendance point balances have been adjusted to accurately reflect the points that should have been accumulated.  Each has received a communication from their respective supervisor seeking their concurrence with the changes that were made to their respective attendance point balances as well as any corresponding Attendance Track progressive discipline step(s).

In category 3, perhaps the most difficult of group to identify, the review is ongoing and requires the active involvement of the affected employee.  Review the following information carefully and act accordingly.

If between May 31, 2017 and February 13, 2019, you either

1.    Requested FML and the request was denied, or

2.    Did not request FML because Help Hub (& its associated displays) or the Employee Service Center (ESC) advised you that you were not eligible because you did not meet the hours worked requirement, you will be required to complete the following steps no later than July 31, 2019 if you would like your absences during that period reviewed to determine if they were FML qualifying absences.

You must follow these three steps:

1.    Contact the Employee Service Center (ESC) at 877 825 3729 and provide the dates of absence for which you sought or intended to seek FML but were advised you were not eligible.  Absences must have occurred between May 31, 2017 & February 13, 2019.

2.    Advise the ESC of the date you originally were denied FML or advised you were not eligible for FML by either Help Hub or ESC.  This information will be used to verify company records.

3.    Submit a fully completed FML certification form, completing the appropriate portions, signed and dated by your health care provider, which covers the period of absence between May 31, 2017 and February 13, 2019.

Once completed, the ESC will review your absences and will decide if these should have been designated as FML qualifying leave.

While it has taken a period of time to resolve the impact of this technology error on Flight Attendants, the collaboration of the company and AFA in response to a problem identified by the Union demonstrates what is possible when we work together.  

It is the understanding of the Union that IT work in ongoing to fully correct the technology error and the Union will be involved at the appropriate time to test the technology corrections made for accuracy.  The final resolution to this issue is now in the hands of those who must act consistent with the directions listed above. 

If you have additional questions, please contact your Local Council Office for assistance.

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