Clarifying: Travel While on Sick Leave is Permissible

Clarifying: Travel While on Sick Leave is Permissible

In a publication on June 25, 2021, we discussed the ability for Flight Attendants to travel while on sick leave without needing prior approval from their supervisor. We have heard from many of you that there is still some confusion on the matter.

Prior to working under our JCBA, each of the pre-merger work groups experienced different protocols when using sick leave and the ability to use pass travel privileges during the period of time away from work. However, what the company and Union mutually understood was clearly documented in:

“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.” -AFA E-Lines

When utilizing our Contractual sick leave provisions to take time off due to illness or injury, keep in mind we are accountable for the time we take away from work and for which we use our sick leave. In the event management has concerns about the validity of the time off, management has the right to investigate.

Traveling while on sick leave is permissible.  However, 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 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 pass travel while on sick leave and should be prepared to respond to any such inquiry.

Should management require a Member to provide satisfactory verification of an illness from an accredited physician, Flight Attendants are not required to discuss the nature of any illness with their supervisor. Any questions or requests for medical documentation should be directed to United Airlines Medical Department.

In the event you decide to contact your supervisor for permission, 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 about sick leave in our Contract.