Employees who are granted a religious exemption from the Covid-19 vaccine requirement at United Airlines will be put on temporary unpaid leave starting next month. Those who do not have a religious exemption and do not receive their first dose by Sept. 27 will be terminated. This is the airline’s updated policy following its announcement last month that all employees must be vaccinated for Covid-19.
United said on Wednesday that those granted a religious exemption can return to work “once the pandemic meaningfully recedes,” but did not give any specific timeframes. United was the first airline to require its employees, all 67,000, to be fully vaccinated in order to keep their jobs. This policy applies to pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, ticketing agents custom service agents and others who interact with passengers directly. Others who do not interact directly with passengers or work in close proximity to others such as mechanics and dispatchers will be allowed to return to work as soon as the airline implements new testing and monitoring precautions.
The few employees who have medical exemptions for not getting the vaccine will be put on temporary medical leave.
Hawaiian Airlines also has a similar vaccine requirements while Delta is imposing a $200 per month surcharge healthcare premiums for unvaccinated employees. Additionally Delta, American and Alaska Airlines are ending pay protection for unvaccinated employees who contract or are exposed to Covid-19.