E-Lines: October 20, 2020
October 20, 2020
There is a lot going on right now and it may feel overwhelming to keep track of so many things in our workplace, while we work towards our civic duties and while holding our elected leadership accountable for protecting our jobs. Today we talk about the Payroll Support Program, Voting, Vacation, Benefits, Link Coverage and Pass Travel Enrollment. It’s a full plate indeed, but it all requires our focus and energy. We need to take care of our needs and interests and make our voices heard on many levels.
Payroll Support Program Efforts Continue!
The Speaker and Secretary Mnuchin spoke at 3:00 p.m. today for approximately 45 minutes. Their conversation provided more clarity and common ground as they move closer to an agreement. Today’s deadline enabled the Speaker and Secretary to see that decisions could be reached and language could be exchanged, demonstrating that both sides are serious about finding a compromise. On several open questions, the Speaker and the Secretary called for the committee chairs to work to resolve differences about funding levels and language. With this guidance, the two principals will continue their discussions tomorrow afternoon upon the Secretary's return. Talks will continue this weak towards reaching a deal.
Extension of the Payroll Support Program benefits everyone. It saves Flight Attendant and other employee jobs not just at United, but across the industry. It helps boost the economy by providing service to the traveling public during the holiday season and through the winter. It helps bolster the economy by providing stimulus to more people who want to work the ability to do so and not depend on unemployment and allows us all to meet our financial obligations responsibly. Unprecedented times call for extraordinary measures; we know this by the work we do every day facing the challenges of a COVID-19 workplace.
We’ve asked you to call and you’ve called, but even if you’ve called one-hundred times, we all need to continue to maintain pressure on our elected representatives to stand by us and do the right thing. Encourage everyone you can to help make calls as well on our behalf.
Real people need relief today. We can't wait for an election or a new Congress. Get it done. #ReliefNow #ExtendPSP #EveryDayCounts
"Hello, I am a constituent calling to tell my (Senator/Representative) that aviation workers are out of time. We need #ReliefNow -- TODAY! Furloughs have begun and we only have short time to reverse course. We need relief and an extension of the Payroll Support Program. Without an extension of this successful jobs program, there is no prohibition on layoffs. This is just the start. Inaction is not an option. #ExtendPSP now. Thank you.”
#ReliefNow Events: https://actionnetwork.org/event_campaigns/get-it-done-day-of-action
Share your #EveryDayCounts story on social media or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Benefits Issues Clarified
Over the course of the past several days, there have been a number of questions about communications from the UABC on Insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts for Healthcare and Dependent care and COBRA. These communications have caused a great deal of confusion and the following is our effort to bring some clarity to the following three (3) issues for which we have information.
1. This email is being sent to all employees who elected into the Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Program (IVFMP) as of October 1, 2020 who received a Health Care FSA COBRA notice.
Subject line: Important updates about your Health Care Flexible Spending Account (HCFSA)
United Family Member,
You previously received a notice from the United Airlines Benefit Center (UABC) stating that your Health Care FSA (HCFSA) elections ended, and you could elect to continue your HCFSA contributions on COBRA. Please disregard that notice, as your contributions will be treated the same as any other benefits that you have, meaning they will continue automatically through direct bill with the UABC. You can expect to see your HCFSA contributions on your next bill with your other benefit deductions.
Please note, this only applies to the HCFSA. If you happen to also have a Dependent Care FSA (DCFSA), there will be no change to how this account is managed during your participation in the IVFMP, as that account has different IRS rules. If you have a DCFSA, you will receive a separate communication in the coming days outlining how those amounts will process while you are in the IVFMP program.
2. Confirmation of Enrollment Notice – An e-mail was sent, in error, by way of an automated process thanking you for confirming enrollment choices you have not yet made.
Dear United Participant –
You recently received an email thanking you for confirming your enrollment choices, even though you had not made your 2021 elections. This email was sent to you in error by an automated process. We apologize for any confusion and inconvenience this caused. There is no action needed on your behalf.
If you do want to make changes to your healthcare options for 2021, you can do so now on Your Benefits Resources (YBR). You can reach YBR at Flying Together > Employee Services > Health & Insurance (YBR) > Tile 3: “Enroll” until October 30. Once you make your 2021 elections, you will receive a new confirmation of enrollment statement indicating any changes you made.
3. This email is being sent to all employees who are on a furlough status as of October 1, 2020 to advised of a different set of dates for open enrollment:
Clarification on Enrollment timing (Furlough population)
E-mail Subject line: Your Annual Benefits Enrollment Window
United Family Member,
As a reminder, the benefits Annual Enrollment window for employees who moved to a furlough status on 10/1/20, will be November 2 through 13. You'll be able to see Tile 3: “Enroll” on Your Benefits Resources (YBR) when your enrollment window opens on November 2. At that time, you'll be able to make your elections for 2021.
Once your enrollment window opens (on November 2), you can make your elections on YBR. If you have questions at that time, the United Airlines Benefit Center (UABC) will be able to help you.
Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Program (IVFMP) – Pay Longevity Information
As provided for under the terms of the Involuntary Furlough Mitigation Program (IVFMP) Letter of Agreement, Flight Attendant participants in the program who are placed on involuntary furlough or who elect to participate in the IVFMP will not accrue any seniority except for the purpose of flight attendant bidding.
What this means in practical terms is that these participants do not move through the salary progression steps, that is, years 1 – 13, during the period of participation in the IVFMP. This information will be visible on the Flight Attendant’s individual pay register.
Because pay raises are applied by the system automatically with each advancing year, and in order to comply with these terms of the Letter of Agreement, Crew Pay will need to manually intervene to ensure the programmatic process of adjusting the employee’s rate of pay on their anniversary date, does not occur.
To this end, during the month in which the anniversary pay increase occurs, Crew Pay will make a manual adjustment to each affected Flight Attendant’s information to adjust the date on which the pay adjustment is due to the month prior. Doing so will “trick” the system into understanding that no hourly pay increase is due the employee.
As a consequence of this adjustment, the Flight Attendant’s pay register in CCS will adjust the pay seniority date, longevity years and hourly rate of pay to reflect the pay to which the employee is entitled under the terms of the Letter of Agreement. (Refer to the yellow highlighted fields below.)
This manual adjustment will need to be made each month for each class of Flight Attendants on their anniversary date. Crew Pay is prepared to make the necessary adjustments to ensure Flight Attendant pay is consistent with the terms of the IVFMP Letter of Agreement.
In addition, Flight Attendants in the IVFMP will advance through the vacation accrual steps, that is 12, 19, 26, 33 and 40 days using the same revised timeline under the Letter of Agreement.
Your Vote is Your Voice: Make it Heard!
MEC Government Affairs Committee
On November 3, our country will place the process of democracy on the world stage. In several states, ballots for the General Election are already being cast in what is no doubt the most important election of our lifetimes. It’s up to all of us to ensure our votes are cast and counted. This election brings unprecedented challenges as we vote amid a global pandemic. We need to be prepared.
Election Day is less than a month away. Through Early or Mail-In Voting, millions of Americans have already cast their vote. Voting is at the core of our democratic way of life and every one of us must ensure we exercise this fundamental right. To find out more about 2020 voting, click here.
Vacation Bidding– The Next Steps of Choose, Bid, Trade.
Our allocation of days will be viewable in CCS, organized by base, on October 23rd. Once the first round of bidding opens on this day, we will be provided the opportunity to choose preferences regarding:
1. The number of days we want in each vacation period.
2. The option to “date slide” the vacation, up to three days in either direction of the start/end dates to ensure we receive the maximum number of days utilizing our initial bids
3. Accept fewer days for the vacation period by specifying the number of days by which the vacation is to be reduced.
4. The start date for each vacation period.
Keep in mind, start dates are not pre-set. The vacation bid process will allow you to bid for any start date for a vacation period, if it fits within the month being bid, or complies with the rules for “crossing months.” It’s important to become familiar with the following vacation rules:
- Flight Attendants may opt to split their vacation accrual into periods of not less than six days each. A Flight Attendant may have a maximum of five vacation periods. (Section 12.F.4.)
- A Flight Attendant who has 11 or fewer days of accrued vacation, must bid their entire accrual in a single block. (Section 12.F.4.)
- A partial day of vacation accrual will be rounded up to a full day for the purpose of vacation bidding, but shall be paid as a partial day. A partial day is always the last of the vacation period in which it is awarded. All hours must be bid in the same round. (Section 12.F.5)
- When a Flight Attendant has a partial day vacation, she/he will be relieved of all duty for that entire day, including any trip assignment or Reserve duty. However, compensation for a partial vacation day will be paid on a pro-rata basis. For example, a 12 hour partial day will pay 50% of the 3:15 value of the vacation day
- A Flight Attendant may not bid more than 50% of their accrued vacation days, unless they have 11 or fewer days of accrued vacation. When a Flight Attendant has accrued an odd number of vacation days, the odd day may be added to the 50% maximum for the first round. For example, a Flight Attendant with 19 days of vacation may bid a maximum of 10 days in the first round. (Section 12.F.6.)
What Happens if I Don't Bid for Vacation?
If a Flight Attendant does not submit a vacation bid in the first round of bidding, they will be considered a No Bid. No vacation will be assigned during the first round of vacation bidding. You will, however, be required to bid all of your accrued days in the second vacation bid round. If a Flight Attendant does not submit a vacation bid in the second round of bidding, she/he will automatically be assigned a vacation. Keep in mind, the vacation you are assigned will be after the second-round vacation awards have been completed for all Flight Attendants submitting a bid. The assigned vacation will be made in seniority order from December backward through January, with the largest block of days being assigned first.
What if My Bid is considered an Insufficient Bid?
When a Flight Attendant submits a vacation bid and is unable to hold any of her/his selections, she/he is considered an Insufficient Bid. In this instance, vacation is assigned in seniority order from December backward through January after that round of vacation has been awarded to all bidders. The assignment shall be based on the number of days in your bid with the largest block of days assigned first.
For additional information on Vacation Bidding, refer to our Vacation site.
Annual Benefits Enrollment Opens October 19th – 30th
MEC Benefits Committee
Benefits enrollment for 2021 is now open. Flight Attendants can make their selections now through October 30thonline by visiting Flying Together.
Nothing could be more critical to understanding your benefits than taking the time to understand not only the costs, but all of the aspects of the plan. This year, United is promoting a new Healthy Advantage HAS PPO plan. It is very important that you understand this plan is not our contractual Traditional PPO plan. There are significant differences in deductibles and other cover costs. Be sure you take the time to understand the differences to ensure you avoid making an unintended selection of PPO plans if that is your choice.
Learn what your benefits options are and what they cost – FlyingTogether.ual .com
Reminder - Link Election Coverage Opens October 22, 2020.
Make your election from October 22 through November 30 by going to Link/Sled Recovery Protection Plan – Standard Enrollment Period in Help Hub.
- The cost is $30 for coverage from December 1, 2020 through November 30, 2021. The cost will be deducted from your paycheck.
- By opting in, your annual enrollment fee of $30 covers the first replacement claim for a lost or stolen Link/sled. Any additional replacement claims will be paid by the employee at the replacement fee costs ($300 for Link and $75 for sled).
- If you don’t make an election, you’re automatically opted out and will be responsible for paying the replacement charges for a lost or stolen Link/sled.
United’s coverage plan will be extended to November 30, 2020 at no additional cost. If you need to verify your coverage, simply call Link Support
If you’re not currently enrolled and would like to obtain coverage for the month of November before the new coverage period begins, you can opt in for a prorated cost by sending an email to email@example.com with your name and employee number.
2021 Pass Travel Enrollment set to Open in November
This year, the 2021 pass travel enrollment will open a bit early in an effort to expand the window during which we make selections. Watch for additional information to be released next month. Enrollment will begin on November 16thand will close on December 18th at 11:59 PM, CT.
For those Flight Attendants planning to select an enrolled friend in lieu of buddy passes, if you have not decided on that friend at the time of enrollment you can make the selection and add the individual’s information at a later date. However, once you add the information you will not be able to change the participant until the following years enrollment period.
MEC Fall Virtual Regular Meeting Rescheduled
As we reported last week the virtual Fall Meeting of the Master Executive Council was postponed. The MEC has acted to reschedule the virtual meeting to take place November 19 - 20, 2020. These dates was selected to follow the 2020 Virtual AFA Board of Directors meeting on November 18, 2020.
We are working towards the virtual meeting being open to view by the Membership. Among other business to be conducted, we will conduct elections for members of the Central Schedule Committee, Communications and Reserve.
Additional details about the meeting logistics will be published soon, as they become available.