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Travel While On Sick Leave

Date: June 25, 2021

As we head into a busy summer travel season and travel to more destinations becomes possible, we offer the following review as it pertains to a Flight Attendant’s ability to travel while on sick leave.  

The Union and representatives from Labor Relations mutually understand a Flight Attendant is not required to secure permission from their supervisor to travel while on sick leave or a medical leave of absence. Flight Attendants are permitted to travel and there is no requirement to obtain prior approval to do so.

As with everything we do, we are ultimately accountable for the decisions we make.  While traveling on sick leave is permissible, in the event the company becomes aware you are doing so, you should be aware that you will be accountable and may be asked to provide management with an explanation as to why, while sick, you were traveling.  The accountability is not for pass travel.  Rather, management may potentially view your travel while on sick leave as an abuse of sick leave. 

Typically, traveling while on sick leave could be misconstrued as inconsistent with being sick.  In our jobs, for example, because of the rigorous physical demands we may be unable to work as a Flight Attendant but not necessarily unable to travel on an aircraft.  A common example of this may be a broken limb or while recovering following certain types of surgery.

The company reserves the right to investigate any situation where they believe sick leave abuse may be occurring. Therefore, a Flight Attendant may be questioned by management about the use of off pass travel while on sick leave and should be prepared to respond to any such inquiry.

While management may require a Flight Attendant to provide satisfactory verification of an illness from an accredited physician should circumstances suggest that sick leave may not have been appropriately used, Flight Attendants are not required to discuss the nature of any illness with her/his supervisor. Any such questions or requested medical documentation should be directed to United Airlines Medical Department.

You should also be aware, once you have asked permission from your supervisor and have been advised you may not travel, you are required to abide by management’s direction.  Contact your Local Council office if you have questions or difficulty.

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