Unvaccinated Delta Airlines Employees May Lose Benefits


Delta Airlines Despite being outside the mandate of other airlines and businesses, the pressure is increasing to vaccinate employees with an increasingly burdensome set of requirements in the weeks and months to come.

In a letter to employees Wednesday, the carrier’s CEO, Ed Bastian, said those not vaccinated should immediately wear masks indoors. From September 12, they will also be required to have weekly coronavirus tests.

On September 30, unvaccinated workers will lose wage protection for employees who test positive for the virus and are unable to go to work while being quarantined. Finally, starting November 1, any unvaccinated employee will have to pay an additional $200 per month to stay on the company’s health care plan.

“This additional fee will be necessary to address the financial risk for our company from the decision not to vaccinate,” Bastian said. “In the weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta workers hospitalized with Covid have not been fully vaccinated.”

The average coronavirus-related hospitalization costs the company about $40,000 per person, he said. Like many large employers, Delta insures its own workforce, meaning it pays for healthcare directly and hires insurance companies to manage its plans.

Mr Bastian said severe requirements apply to a shrinking share of the airline’s workforce, with 75 percent of employees currently vaccinated.

“In the face of this global health crisis, we have always known that vaccines are the most effective tool to keep our people safe and healthy,” he said. “So we’re taking additional, solid steps to increase our vaccination rate.”

Mr. Bastian said Delta, with its largest headquarters in Atlanta, operates the largest vaccination site in Georgia outside of the flight museum. More than 115,000 doses were administered to state residents there, and more than 150,000 doses were given to employees, family, and friends.

About 50.5 percent of Georgia’s adult population is fully vaccinatedAccording to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which brings the state closer to the bottom of the country.

The airline’s approach differs from that of some competitors. For example, earlier this month United Airlines announced: requires vaccinations everywhere. This mandate will take effect on September 27. United employees who provide proof of vaccination until September 20 will receive a full-time salary. Frontier Airlines, a smaller carrier, said it would require the vaccine by October 1.


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