Alaska Airlines has contracted a new third party vendor in Seattle to coordinate the return to work process for Flight Attendant worker’s compensation claims, as well as light or alternate duty. J. Donley Associates began administering Seattle-based worker’s compensation claims for our group on May 1, 2014. This has generated a lot of questions.
Please be aware that you may be contacted within the first 48 hours of filing a claim.
When representatives make contact, they are advising Flight Attendants they are calling to facilitate light duty and the return to work process. Again, this has caused a lot of concern and questions; in some cases the Flight Attendant contacted has not even had a chance to seek medical treatment. AFA leadership has brought forward concerns to inflight management regarding the timing of the communication and the premature discussion of alternate duty and return to work.
While worker’s compensation laws can be complicated and vary from state to state, it is important for Flight Attendants to know that there are contractual provisions that apply to all Alaska Airlines Flight Attendants. This is particularly true with respect to alternate duty, which is optional unless the leave exceeds 12 months.
A few important provisions to keep in mind if you are contacted
Section 16.K Alternate Duty
- A Flight Attendant on worker’s compensations leave of absence will have the option of preforming alternate duty.
- The maximum number of days that a Flight Attendant may work alternate duty in a month will be determined by taking the average number of days that the Flight Attendant worked per month during the twelve (12) months preceding her/his injury.
- An alternate duty assignment may be made only when the Flight Attendant meets the skill level necessary for the position and her/his medical provider certifies that s/he is able to perform the job.
- Alternate duty may be performed in any domicile, co-terminal or the Flight Attendant’s registered commuter city, at her/his option.
Please refer to entire Section 16 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, Sick Leave/On The Job Injury for additional information.
There may be benefits to performing alternate duty, especially if you are unable to use sick leave to remain insured on your leave. However, we encourage Flight Attendants to reach out to their local AFA Worker’s Compensation/Benefit Committee member for information before making the decision. You can find contact information at afaalaska.org/benefits.
In addition as a reminder if you are injured while working please keep in mind it is critical that you:
- Seek medical attention immediately. Time loss (or worker’s compensation pay) will not begin until you seek treatment for your injury. In addition, in each state there are waiting periods for time loss compensation, which do not begin until medical attention is sought. Remember that attendance points will apply under Section 32 until you seek treatment.
- Call a supervisor or on-call supervisor via crew scheduling to obtain a worker’s compensation packet. They can fax pertinent documentation to your medical facility, if needed.
- When you are able, call your local AFA worker’s compensation/benefits committee member for assistance with the process. You can find contact information at afaalaska.org/benefits.
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Gesch, Becky Strachan, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt and MEC Benefits Chairperson Terry Taylor