While pay has increased over the past several years, airline employees are now demanding a greater work-life balance. Many U.S. workers now consider work/life balance and flexibility to be the most important factors in considering job offers. If done correctly, small changes can boost employee morale and increase employee retention. In the airline world, employee demands – often through unions – are seen in the following ways:
- Flex time. Employees want the ability to use compensatory time in exchange for working overtime. They would rather have an extra day off than a little extra money.
- Remote work. While this is not an option for many airline employees, it is a bigger focus for employees in reservations, administration, and other non-airport located positions.
- Rescheduling Limits. Employee has the ability to decline a shift if rescheduled for more than certain time outside of original footprint. Many contracts allow pilots to refuse to work if a leg is scheduled for more than a set period outside the original flight.
- Focus on Days Off. Set, consistent days off, preferably back-to-back. Airlines are a 24/7 operation but knowing you have every Monday and Tuesday off allows employees to schedule appointments and not have to use PTO for planned absences.
- Alternative workweeks. Compressed workweek is an alternative scheduling method that allows employees to work a standard workweek of 40 hours over a period of fewer than five days in one week or 10 days in two weeks. For example, many airlines implement a four-day workweek of 10-hour days. Employers get the same number of working hours, but employees have a three-day weekend every week, making it easier to juggle child care and schedule appointments.