While majority of people across the globe have taken their coronavirus vaccination shots, the is still a group that refrains from the vaccine. Such groups are not new and existed even in the pre-pandemic time. Such people have religious reasons not to take vaccines. Some of the employees of the United Airlines have been granted an exemption from the company vaccine mandate. But these employees will be put on a temporary unpaid leave starting from October, 2021. The staff of the airline was informed on September 8, 2021 and the decision was made due to the recent rise in the cases.
In the month of August, the United Airlines had said that it has a workforce of 67,000 in the United States and all of them need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by this fall. It had then also said that it would consider exemptions for religious and personal beliefs and medical reasons. However, the encouragement of getting the staff members vaccinated by the airlines has varied. Not all airlines have allowed exemptions. The Delta Airlines has imposed a $200 surcharge on the employee’s company health care premiums, who are not vaccinated.
Alaska Airlines and Delta American Airlines will be ending the pay protection plans for the unvaccinated employees who are infected or are exposed to COVID-19. Despite the exemption by the United, the company has clarified that if an employee’s request for religious exemption has been denied, they will have to get vaccinated within five weeks of the notice of denial or they will be terminated.
The United has also clarified that the flight attendants, pilots, airport customer service agents, gate agents and others who interact with the customers and are granted the exemptions will be allowed to return to work, after the pandemic slows down remarkably. But it has not mentioned about a time frame. Employees like mechanics and dispatchers who are granted exemptions will be able to return to work after the airline has laid down fresh testing measures.
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