Southwest Airlines has discontinued plans to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave

Travelers will wait to check in at the Southwest Airlines ticketing counter at Baltimore Washington International Airport Thurgood Marshall Airport in Baltimore, Maryland on October 11, 2021.

Kevin Deechu | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines has abandoned plans to place unvaccinated employees who have applied for unpaid leave but have not received religious or medical exemptions by the federal deadline in December.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines are federal contractors and are subject to the Biden administration’s requirement that employees be vaccinated against Covid-19 by December 8, unless exempted for medical or religious reasons. It is one of the airlines that will become. Federal contractor rules are stricter than those expected of large companies, allowing regular Covid testing as an alternative to vaccination.

Recently, executives of both carriers have sought to reassure employees of mandate employment security and apply for exemptions if they are unable to be vaccinated due to medical or sincere religious beliefs. Prompted to. Airlines are expected to face more questions about mandates when reporting quarterly results on Thursday morning. Pilot unions have tried to thwart their obligations and have sought alternatives such as regular testing.

Steve Goldberg and Julie Weber, Senior Vice Presidents of Operations and Hospitality at Southwest Airlines, Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, wrote to staff on Friday. Mask and distance guidelines until the request is confirmed.

The company is offering employees applications for vaccination termination or exemption until November 24th. While the company is considering their requirements, it keeps paying them, and it keeps the rejected people working “because they coordinate with them to meet the requirements (vaccine or effective accommodation)”. He said it would make it possible.

“This is a change from what was previously reported. Initially, these employees were told they would take unpaid leave, but now they aren’t,” he wrote in a note reviewed by CNBC. increase.

Southwest Airlines has confirmed a policy change that will take place just weeks before the deadline.

United Airlines said it would implement its own vaccine obligation in August, a month before government regulations were announced, and that exempt staff would take unpaid leave. Over 96% of our staff are vaccinated. Some employees sued the company for unpaid leave, and a federal judge in Fort Worth temporarily prevented the airline from proceeding with the plan.

US CEO Doug Parker met with trade union leaders Thursday to discuss vaccination exemptions.

“Unlike the approach adopted by United, American Airlines management has shown that it is looking for accommodation where employees can continue to work,” said a union representing major American Airlines flight attendants. The Professional Flight Attendants Association, which is, said in a memo to its members. on Monday. “They didn’t provide details about what such accommodation would look like at the time.”

Hundreds of Southwest Airlines employees, customers and other protesters have demonstrated against the vaccine obligations outside the Southwest Airlines headquarters, according to the Dallas Morning News.

An airline spokeswoman said the airline is aware of the demonstration.

“Southwest Airlines acknowledges and continues to support employees’ right to self-expression through open communication to share issues and concerns, acknowledging different views on the Covid-19 vaccine. I will continue, “she said.

Southwest Airlines Goldberg and Weber told staff that employees could reapply if the tax exemption request was denied and if the staff “had new information or circumstances that the company would like the company to consider.”

A spokesman said Southwest Airlines requires new employees to be vaccinated in the same way that American Airlines hires new staff to operate its mainline.

Delta is also a federal contractor subject to government requirements, but staff vaccinations are not yet required. Last week, the carrier reported that about 90% of its approximately 80,000 employees were vaccinated. Delta announced in August that unvaccinated staff would begin paying $ 200 per month for company health insurance in November.

Southwest Airlines has discontinued plans to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave

Source link Southwest Airlines has discontinued plans to put unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave

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