Representing the Flight Attendants
of American Airlines

Representing the Flight Attendants of American Airlines

3.26.20 – VXLOA & Unemployment

Thursday, March 26, 2020

VXLOA and Unemployment Update

We have received quite a few questions regarding the VXLOA and the ability to collect unemployment. Here are some key things and answers to the most frequently asked questions.

Many flight attendants interested in taking a VXLOA have asked about filing for Unemployment Benefits, and how the company will respond to that application.

  • The LOA says that the company will not contest your application, but it is still up to each state to make a decision on granting your application.


There is no guarantee that you will receive unemployment compensation.  If you must have the unemployment compensation to take the leave, do NOT take the leave.  It is not guaranteed.

For everyone else there are several things working in your favor to be granted the benefit.

  • When you receive notice that you successfully held the VXLOA, the company will be giving you a letter explaining that your leave is related to the COVID-19 crisis, and your leave is for “good cause”.  That letter will say:“This confirms your participation in American Airline’s current Leave of Absence Program (LOA Program). As previously communicated, American implemented the LOA Program because of the unprecedented impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the demand for air travel.  This demand decrease has resulted in significant schedule reductions, which began in March and will continue into the summer. Your participation in this LOA Program will assist American address significant financial challenges and potentially avoid more dramatic cost-savings measures.  As such, for purposes of unemployment benefit eligibility, American views your voluntary participation in the LOA Program because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the effect on the Company’s business as constituting good cause connected with the work for taking temporary leave from American.For additional details of this unpaid leave of absence program, please see [site].

    Thank you for playing a key part in American’s efforts during this challenging time.”


Department of Labor recently issued new guidance to state unemployment agencies:

  • Under the guidance, federal law permits significant flexibility for states to amend their laws to provide UI benefits in multiple scenarios related to COVID-19. For example, federal law allows states to pay benefits where: (1) An employer temporarily ceases operations due to COVID-19, preventing employees from coming to work; (2) An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work after the quarantine is over; and (3) An individual leaves employment due to a risk of exposure or infection or to care for a family member. In addition, federal law does not require an employee to quit in order to receive benefits due to the impact of COVID-19.


In Unity,
APFA Special Leave Task Force



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