13 FEB 2018: Airlines for America, an airline trade group has begun legal action to exempt airlines from Washington state's new paid sick leave law. The group wants an exemption, arguing that airlines offer generous sick leave for flight crews already negotiated in union contracts, and maintain that it is ludicrous to include commercial airlines in a law which operates across state lines. That's a situation, say the airlines, that will cause 'mass confusion.'  

Washington's Paid Sick Leave Act took effect on January 1.

"Airlines cannot operate their nationwide systems properly if flight crews are subject to the employment laws of every state in which they are based, live, or pass through," A4A said.

It says there are many states with their own different sick leave laws as well as 30 cities.

"Compliance with every state or local paid sick leave law imposed by jurisdictions in which A4A member airlines operate is nearly impossible, and even if it were possible, it would be extremely burdensome," the lawsuit claims.

Airlines also, understandably, took issue with Washington's law in which a doctor's note is not required from sick employees until they miss at least three consecutive work days.

The suit contends that due to the on-off work pattern of flight crew, it is very unlikely a crew member would actually miss three consecutive shifts, which opens up more opportunity for absenteeism without disciplinary measures being taken which 'impairs the airline's ability to investigate fraud and abuse of sick leave protections," it added.


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