Court orders Arizona-based Mesa Air Group to change family leave pay policy
PHOENIX — Mesa Air Group has been ordered by a federal court to correct its company’s pay policy so that employees could request time off for reasons under the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The order comes after an investigation revealed that Mesa Air Group used a policy that would qualify employees for FMLA through using only hours paid, allegedly ignoring hours employees worked, the U.S. Department of Labor said in a press release.
In a court filing from the Association of Flight Attendants, it was stated that flight attendants aren’t paid for every hour on duty, instead they receive hourly pay only while the aircraft is moving.
The result of the company’s policy made it difficult for pilots and flight attendants to qualify for family and medical leave.
“Workers should not have to choose between their jobs and their health,” Wage and Hour Division District Director Eric Murray said in the release.
“Federal law allows for critically needed workplace flexibilities precisely when employees need it the most. The outcome of this case will likely have an impact on airline industry employees nationwide.”
The court further ordered the reinstatement and $10,000 payment to a flight attendant who Mesa denied FMLA leave.
The airline argued the FMLA allowed them to determine eligibility through hours worked or hours paid, and that the company is not required to maintain such records.
“Mesa’s sought to undermine the ability of flight attendants to benefit from the Family and Leave Act,” Association of Flight Attendants’ Associate General counsel John Morse said.
“Mesa’s arguments sought to turn back the clock and prevent most flight attendants from qualifying for FMLA. The U.S. District Court has now affirmed the law for airline crewmembers to become eligible for FMLA.”
Anyone who believes they’re owed back wages can file an online complaint or call the Wage and Hour Division’s toll-free helpline at 866-4US-WAGE (487-9243).