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Senate Votes FMLA for Flight Attendants

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November 12, 2009

After a 16-year delay, flight attendants are about to win Family and Medical Leave Act protections after the Senate voted to extend coverage to airline workers.

The Senate approved the Airline Flight Crew Family and Medical Leave Act, S. 1422, closing a loophole in the law that has enabled airlines to deny airline workers FMLA benefits. The 1993 law provides workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave a year, but airline management has claimed that the law did not apply to flight crews because they did not work traditional 40-hour weeks.

"We look forward to an expedited process to finalize this very important bill and for President Obama to officially sign it into law this fall," said AFA-CWA President Patricia Friend.  The House passed virtually identical legislation last year and is expected to adopt the Senate's version of the bill before the end of the year so that it can go to President's Obama for his signature.