Q: Can you please explain the Vacation Coordination Bank in greater detail?
A: The Vacation Coordination Bank would allow Flight Attendants the ability to coordinate with unpaid vacation (i.e., even if a Flight Attendant had -0- TFP in a year) in order to maintain health insurance benefits at the active employee rate while on an eligible leave of absence pursuant to §15.M. This is especially important because the JCBA provides for a medical leave of 4 years duration instead of today’s 1 year maximum (unless management approves additional time, which has not been the case recently).
Our current Agreement allows Flight Attendants to use paid vacation to coordinate with an unpaid leave of absence in order to maintain health insurance at the active employee rate.
Section 15.M.2.a. (Leaves of Absence, Minimum Coordination with Vacation):
Minimum Coordination: A Flight Attendant may choose to coordinate the use of vacation/Longevity PTO in conjunction with medical, maternity or parental leave, FMLA, Workers’ Compensation, STD or LTD in order to maintain insurance benefits for her-/himself and her/his eligible dependents, if applicable, at the active employee contribution rate. … If coordinating with vacation/Longevity PTO, s/he must utilize a minimum of two (2) vacation/Longevity PTO days in each partial or full bid month until depleted.
Under the JCBA, instead of the requirement to coordinate with paid vacation, a Flight Attendant who had not earned any paid vacation would be credited with her full possible vacation entitlement (as though s/he had been credited the ‘hard’ 480) for the purposes of minimum coordination. Those “vacation coordination bank” days would be applied at two days/month in order for the Flight Attendant to maintain health insurance at the active rate. In the current CBA, one can only coordinate with paid vacation days.
Example: A 26-year FA was on a medical leave for most of 2017 and was only credited with 190 TFP in 2017. Because of the 190 TFP credit for 2017, the Flight Attendant did not earn any paid/unpaid vacation for 2018. However, her/his possible Vacation/Longevity PTO accrual would be 42 days. Therefore, s/he may use those 42 “vacation coordination bank” days to coordinate 2 days/month in order to maintain health insurance at the active employee rate. In 2019, s/he may do the same thing. Under today’s CBA, s/he would need paid vacation days to coordinate per §15.M.2.a.