The California Legislature has recently passed a new bill to expand the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) to flight deck and cabin crew employees (pilots and flight attendants). The new bill conforms California’s CFRA to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) with regard to protected leave.

Currently under the CFRA, employees are eligible to take up to 12 weeks of paid or unpaid protected leave during a 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, or when the employee is unable to work because of a serious health condition.

The new bill, which is awaiting Governor Gavin Newsom’s approval, will allow flight crew employees to be eligible for CFRA protected leave if the employee has:

  • 12 months or more of service with the employer;
  • Worked or been paid for 60 percent of the applicable monthly guarantee, or the equivalent annualized over the preceding 12-month period; and
  • Worked or been paid for a minimum of 504 hours during the preceding 12-month period.

Newsom has until October 13, 2019 to approve or veto the bill. If signed into law, the threshold for flight crew members to qualify for CFRA would be more easily satisfied, resulting in a potential increase in CFRA claims by airline employees.