Updated Flight Attendant Sick Policy


Jan 7, 2003
Just received this. Check it out:

December 12, 2003

To All Flight Attendants:

The future success of US Airways is dependent upon a reliable schedule and reliable service for our customers. Our ability to maintain dependable service is profoundly jeopardized if we are unable to meet our schedule and service demands 365 days a year. In order for the Company to meet such competitive demands, the regular attendance of it flight attendants is critical.

Unfortunately, the difficulties crew scheduling continues to face while covering trips due to unexpected and excessive sick calls as well as reserves failing to be in base while on duty often contribute to an unreliable schedule for our customers. We believe it is important to emphasize that we fully recognize that the majority of our hard-working flight attendants report to work regularly and properly and that they are also impacted when they are required to cover trips left open by those who are excessively absent.

We would like to share a few recent situations with you to illustrate the impact that late sick calls, sick calls received when reserves are assigned a trip or reserves positioned out of base while on duty can have on our operation:

*On October 31, 2003, crew scheduling was forced to contact five flight attendants to cover just one position on a trip departing the following day. After the lineholder called in sick, the first four reserves that were contacted claimed they were too ill to fly. These were reserves that were scheduled to be available and crew scheduling had counted on as being available.

*You may have also heard of a recent situation in which crew scheduling was forced to replace a transatlantic crew who had become illegal due to a maintenance delay. When crew scheduling began the process of contacting replacement flight attendants, they were severely thwarted in their efforts due to reserves either being positioned out of base or alleging they were too ill to fly. After an unsuccessful attempt to fully staff the flight with in-base flight attendants, the decision was made to staff it with out of base flight attendants. The problem continued, however, when reserves in the alternate base alleged they were unavailable to fly for similar reasons. The flight was eventually staffed and departed over six hours after crew scheduling was notified of the need to re-crew the flight, further inconveniencing our valued customers.

* Most recently, on December 5,2003, crew scheduling was once again faced with the need to replace an entire transatlantic crew. They were eventually successful in filling the nine positions necessary to avoid canceling the flight. However, of the nine flight attendants who fulfilled their obligations, nine additional reserves were unavailable for reasons similar to those in the previous example.

Similar scenarios are occurring with more frequency and increasingly impacting our operation. As a result, we wanted to take some time to review the Company's expectations of you by reiterating current requirements and defining the parameters regarding notifications of absence for both lineholders and reserves. Please familiarize yourselves with the following definitions, requirements and action that will be taken should a flight attendant fail to follow the parameters as outlined below:

Excessive Sick Calls- Sick calls are intended to be used for the employee's own illness. Any sick occurrence in excess of five (5) is considered excessive. Unless there are mitigating circumstances surrounding a sick call, flight attendants will be progressed in the Dependability Control Program (DCP) for any occurrence above five.

Late Sick Calls- All flight attendants are required to report their legitimate illness/injury as soon as practicable after realizing they are unable to report to work. Effective December 19, 2003, a sick call received by crew scheduling less then two hours prior to check in time will be documented as a Late Sick Call and will be considered a dependability event in the Dependability Control Program (DCP).

Sick On Contact- A reserve flight attendant who is unavailable due to his/her own legitimate illness/injury is required to report his/her sick status prior to becoming available to crew scheduling. Effective December 19, 2003, a flight attendant who fails to notify crew scheduling that he/she is sick prior to being contacted will incur a Sick On Contact. The Sick On contact may be considered both a dependability event in the Dependability Control Program (DCP) and a conduct event wherein the flight attendant will be put on notice that any future misconduct event of the same or similar nature may result in his/her termination.

Reserve Out of Base- A flight attendant is considered to be out of base is he/she is not positioned within one (1) hour of traveling time by surface transportation of the check-in point when he/she is on reserve duty. Effective December 19, 2003, a Reserve Out of Base may be considered both a dependability event in the Dependability Control Program (DCP) and a conduct event wherein the flight attendant will be put on notice that any future misconduct event of the same or similar nature will result in his/her termination.

A flight attendant may be required to speak to a supervisor, a duty manager and/or a medical professional depending on the circumstances surrounding a sick call and, in some cases, he/she may be required to seek medical treatment.

While the above reminders and definitions may be considered extreme by the majority of flight attendants who are dependable and report to work regularly and with the utmost professionalism, the Company finds it necessary and appropriate to address those few individuals who do not meet their obligations as employees. We thank you in advance for your understanding of the need to put the measures in place to ensure we do our part to maintain a reliable operation.

Sherry Groff
Vice President, In-flight Services

Robert A. Fuhr
Director, Crew Scheduling and Planning
Here lies again management "hammering" the employees, and forcing them to come to work ill, or suffer consequences and be placed on a Discipline regardless if it is the 5th sick call or the 1st.

Now, was the MEC contacted regarding these changes in policy effective immediately. NO!

Great morale boosters wouldn't you say. Our employee group is getting sicker and sicker. They don't have the extra funds to get medical treatement or to pay for prescriptions. FACT!

So, now the company has targeted them for any illness that occurs as a discipline BECAUSE THEY AUTOMATICALLY THINK WE ARE LIARS. AND CHEATERS. Meanwhile, they sit with our wages we gave in order for what? Company to survive, but we as employees do not!

So, where in this equation, does this NEW policy help employee morale?????

We never had these problems in previous years to this extent. Now, they make up new rules to add to the restructuring agreements that have had such a NEGATIVE effect on our employee group.

FYI: Example: With this new reserve system, because the reserves now have a difficult time reaching their flying option, there 8.4% paycut has turned into a whooping 38% pay cut, just using the 95hour flyer as an example. $17,800 yearly pay cut, NOT counting increases in medical, sick pay penalties, and less meal allowance.



Again, we are going broke, and management only looks to once again add to their new and improved business model concession #3.

And what doesn't work well in that concession, they will once again institute NEW policy to discipline employees RIGHT OUT THE FRIGGEN DOOR.


Go pound yourselves some major salt in the Poop bin.

PS: And we get this notice from the "do-nothing" VP to boot.
The IAM mechanic and related has won an arbitration case against the company, where if you have a Dr's note you can't be disciplined for the legitimate use of sick time and it does not count as an occurance against our attendence policy.
This management is running around frantically changing a business plan in order to meet the demands of the LCC competition, and ARE obviously STILL focused on the employees TO PAY FOR THE FARES THAT WILL HAVE TO BE SIMPLIFIED AND RESTRUCTURED.

In plain English...employees will once again be forced to shoulder the cost for the lowering of the ticket price, being disciplined for illness right out the front door. This management DOES NOT KNOW HOW TO OPERATE AN AIRLINE OR COMPETE>

We have 29 VPs and this is the policies they can come up with.

NO RELIEF! NONE! WILL BE GIVEN TO THIS MANGEMENT ON ANY LEVEL. Tell Scrouge he can get "bent". So much for the morale improvements in the business plan.

They have just pissed us off again!
The reason flight attendants are "out of base" and are being tracked by this management is because THEY CANNOT AFFORD TO PAY FOR TWO PLACES TO LIVE IN AND SIT AND SIT AND WAIT TO GET A TRIP. Worst part of that, you may not even be called for a trip the entire duty period time of 4 or 5 days. Not only that, you are only receiving your garantee of 71 hours in which you have to maintain two residences if you happen to live out of base. The reason folks don't move is that they HAVE TO PAY AT THEIR EXPENSE AND THEY MAY BE DISPLACED AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN.

First the new reserve system and now this. The good ole one two punch for Thanksgiving & Christmas.

I'm just wondering if something similiar will show up for us pilots in the coming days.


Listen up good.

you don't have enough employees to cover the daily operation. By disciplining us to death will not solve your problems. Forcing us to come to work sick, will not solve your problems. Pay penalties so severe, obviously, will NOT solve your problems.

Any required dr. note levied on a f/a before the 5th sick call WILL BE BORE BY THE COMPANY YOUR EXPENSE. SEC. 8-4.

Notices will be sent via e-line. YOUR POLICIES ARE NOT CONTRACTUAL AND WILL BE GRIEVED AND your new made policies will become a media event.

You still continue to FIGHT with your employees and "hammer" them every step of the way. What few f/as Ms. Sherry, are you refering to?????? If its so few, than why are you forcing these types of policies on our f/as?????

If you discipline f/as who do not contact crew sched. before 2 hours when coming on duty, then what's to prevent a f/a from waiting to come on the aircraft and then report sick, in order NOT to be penalized in a discipline for getting ill after the 2 hours???? Are you then going to make a policy that states you cannot call in sick once you arrive at work or are on the plane??????

Do you see the insanity here folks?????

All f/as who are denied FMLA/PCL regardless of if your hours worked in a year qualifies you or NOT, please notify your LECP ASAP. This is documentation you need in case of termination for illenss from your employer for EEOC and ADA cases. Specifically if you are over 40 in age.

If you are denied a medical leave of absence by the MMS Dept., please contact your local LECP. Do not sign FMLA/PCL documentation UNLESS YOU REQUEST THIS TYPE OF LEAVE.

Management wants war with its employees; a war it will be.

Not to defend the harassment factor here, but why shouldn't the company be able to expect their employees to be reliable? If I were in charge I'd expect the same thing. People that continually abuse sick leave and reserve policies are essentially stealing from all of us and the shareholders as well. Maybe this approach is extreme (although the company has tried MANY ways to implement a reliability program). Other than some of the details (like placing a time limit on the 5 sick calls), there is NO WAY ANY UNION can legitimately take a stand against the company on this. I'm a big believer in unions, but this is a battle they CANNOT fight, because they would be WRONG. Unless it says in YOUR contract that they do not have a right to demand reliability (something I seriously doubt), the F/A union SHOULD SUPPORT THIS, NOT FIGHT IT! Maybe they could negotiate a less onerous tone to this, but reliable, conscientious employees (or customers, for that matter) should not be penalized by those that are not! :blink:

Read between the lines here. Do you think for a second that f/as can afford to be off? They can't afford the sick pay penalities, why in hell would they just call of sick if THEY WEREN'T REALLY ILL? The company is forcing employees to come to work ill.

I don't know about your labor group, but our penalty is more serve than the pilots because we have different flying options; unlike the pilots. F/as are affected differently in pay penalites. One f/a maybe penalized 20 hours of pay for a trip sick call, and another 15 hours for a trip. Another 17 hours. There are pay penalties in place for sick. So, you have to deduce that obviously, f/as are sick. We don't work behind a desk. We are a work group that is constantly in the public eye.

Sorry, its not an issue of not being dependable, its an issue that management has reduced too many heads and is now penalizing all f/as with new policies to make sure that no matter what the circumstances YOU Are on the plane as a body.
traderjake said:
The job of a reserve is to be available to cover trips. If you don't want to do the job, then quit.
Oh, so reserves can't be sick. I see how this works now....oohh. Thanks for setting us straight. Non-human work force called "reserves".

Yea, no sick for reserves, hell they're reserves right? Yea, infact, the unions should embrace these new policies that hammer our group, what the heck, all employees should be reliable, NO SICK for anyone.

Just come to work sick and be considered at least, "dependable".

We may be dealing with a perception problem here. It's one thing to sit at a desk or whatever on the ground with "only a little cold" and quite another to risk flying with one. Rapid decompressions are rare, but they do happen. When they do, the effects on someone with "a little cold" are not pretty.

I'm amazed!!!! :blink: 5 sick calls was allowed in a year?? (they let you get away with that for this long)...isn't that almost sick every other month?!? geez! At UAL, you call in for 3 within a one year timeframe and you WILL be having a lil chat with your supervisor about dependability.

and..... you had only 2 hours to call in sick!?! (amazed again) You better let them know at LEAST 4 hours ahead of checkin or your dead meat over here. (common courtesy should prevail. If your sick, let them know asap, not 2 hours before a trip)

I realize that change is always difficult for people, but do you really think what your company is implimenting is too difficult and unfair? Step back and imagine if this were YOUR company....would you feel it fair to you if your employees called in sick last minute and did so every other month? Of course not! Yes, people get sick (especially the flight attendants for obvious reasons) but you may need to start investing in some vitamins if you can't stay healthy for longer than an eight week stretch. Food for thought.

There may be some differences between U & UAL where sick call & pay intersect. I'm not a f/a, but the sick policies concerning pay are similiar. PitBull can correct anything I get wrong.

Here a sick call means 5 hours comes off your pay. If your reserve guarantee is 71 hours, a sick call means a 66 hour guarantee - even if they don't need you while you're sick. That 5 hours was managements first attempt to bludgeon flight crew into not being sick. Considering this, I can see a reserve f/a getting sick and thinking "maybe I'll get better before they call me for a trip".

Also, I didn't see anything in the above letter that said the 5 sick calls had to be in 1 year. I do understand (from a LEC officer) that the company wanted to put pilots on a "miss 6 trips for being sick and you're terminated" policy in the last round of concessions. Notice that this was NOT 6 trips in a year, but 6 trips in a career! Nothing like breaking a leg and losing your job for it.



Actually, the pay penalties were suppose to be like the pilots as the language is the same, 5-hour pay penalty. What was not factored in was the different flying options. This has grossly effected the amount of pay penalty involved. This is the MEC grievance. F/as ratified a 5 hour pay penalty, period end of story. However, as time progressed and management looked more closely at their "wind fall", the pilot language hurt the f/as in that mangement could implement more of a pay penalty for the f/as who were on different flying options, secondlary line holders who can't sap, reserves on higher options and Lodos, and ITD f/as etc. We have filed indvidual grievances to make a stronger case. The grievance will be heard sometime in the coming new year.