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r22butters

Medical leave, or adios muchacho?

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As a commercial driver I too must pass a medical exam in order to work.

 

Recently we had a guy fail his medical, so he can't drive, but the company allows up to three months to resolve the issue, after which he can return to his old route as if he never left. After three months though, he's out, unless he gets an extention, which another guy did, returning last week after a five months medical leave.

 

So, how about you commercial flyboys?

 

If you fail your medical does your company give you time to resolve it, or do they just say, "Take a hike Charlie"!

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Fail a medical, you are grounded until it is resolved. Your company should allow you to take sick leave, or possibly fill a ground job if one is available.

 

When sick leave is used up, it is leave without pay, or if the medical is final, there is the door. You were hired to be a pilot, and if you can't fly, bye bye.

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It depends on the issue. If you're grounded because of a paperwork snafu (Which I've seen happen) then generally people will fill in for you, use sick/vacation time, etc... If you're grounded because you've got a serious medical issue, or a minor issue that the FAA is still going to ground you for a few years for (Hope you never have a seizure) you're going to be hoping for an administrative job with your company while you kill time. That, or walk out the door.

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In a way, this issue is what turned me from an anti-union guy to a pro-union guy. At PHI we pilots were always allowed to accrue sick leave. Then one fine day Carroll Suggs cheerily announced that pilot would go to a "use it or lose it" sick leave policy. They gave us seven days per year. I joined the union organizing committee that day.

 

But here's the deal. Anybody can break a leg on their day off and still come in and do their job. Anyone except a pilot, that is. Everyone else..including Mrs. Suggs can come in and still work, even if it is on "light-duty." Not pilots. If I were to do something non-work-related that caused me to not be able to fly, then after seven days I'd be sucking wind for up to 90 more days until LTD kicked in. I'd basically be out of work. At least in the old system I could burn through my sick leave, of which I had plenty. Which is exactly what happened when I fell while jogging and broke my clavicle. I was out of work for three hitches (six weeks) but didn't use any vacation time because I had enough sick-leave saved up.

 

It's been my observation that most pilots are pretty conscientious about *not* taking a sick day. The new "use it or lose it" encouraged pilots to take sick days...to show up a day or two late for their hitch, or get sick mid-hitch and leave. To me, it seemed counter-productive. To Carroll Suggs it must've seemed like genius! Why let those stupid pilots accrue sick leave? What do they need it for!

 

Helicopter operators have long been able to take unfair advantage of pilots because they know we love to fly more than anything. Oh, and most of us are stupid. As the effects of this very real pilot shortage are felt and pilot retention becomes an issue that actually has to be dealt with before helicopter begin to be parked and sold, it will be interesting to see if helicopter companies begin to feel compelled to treat their pilots even as well as FedEx treats their truck drivers.

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Yeah our sick days don't accrue either, however at the end of the year, the ones we didn't use?

 

,...we still get paid for :D

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