United Airlines employees with religious exemption for vaccine tenure will be put on unpaid leave

United Airlines employees with religious exemption for vaccine tenure will be put on unpaid leave

A passenger wearing a protective mask waits to board a United Airlines flight at San Francisco International Airport on October 15, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

United Airlines employees who have been exempted from a corporate vaccination warrant for religious reasons will be placed on temporary unpaid leave starting next month, the airline told employees on Wednesday, citing a recent increase in cases of Covid.

The airline said last month that its 67,000 U.S. employees should be vaccinated against Covid-19 this fall, but said it would consider exemptions for religious and personal beliefs as well as for medical reasons.

Airlines have different approaches to incentivize vaccination rates for their employees. Delta Air Lines takes an additional $ 200 on health care premiums for unvaccinated employees. Delta, American Airlines and Alaska Airlines will end wage protection for unvaccinated employees who contract or have been exposed to COVID-19.

United said on Wednesday that if an employee’s religious exemption request is denied, they must be vaccinated within five weeks of the denial notice and receive the first vaccine by September 27, otherwise they will be fired. .

United said pilots, flight attendants, boarding agents and airport customer service agents who interact with customers who have been granted these exemptions can return to work “once the pandemic subsides. significantly ”. United said without specifying a deadline.

Other employees such as mechanics and dispatchers are exempt and can return to work after re-testing and other measures by the airline, the carrier said in a staff note. It still determines security measures with exemptions for office workers and whether they should enter.

Employees who are granted medical leave for not having received the vaccine will be placed on temporary medical leave.

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