Southwest Airlines has become the latest carrier to incentivize its employees to get the coronavirus vaccine as the highly contagious delta variant continues to threaten the industry’s recovery.
The Texas-based carrier is offering two days of pay for employees who are or will become fully vaccinated by Nov. 15, a Southwest spokesperson told FOX Business. However, employees must also share their vaccination status with the carrier.
Employees who are not fully vaccinated by Nov. 16 will no longer be eligible to receive the carrier’s quarantine pay.
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“As always, Southwest will continue adapting our programs based on the current COVID environment to support the wellbeing of our Employees and Customers,” Southwest spokesperson Alyssa Foster said in an emailed statement.
Southwest is among a handful of major U.S. carriers that are strongly encouraging employees to get vaccinated in order to better protect staff and customers especially as concerns surrounding the COVID-19 delta variant – which is fueling a surge of infections – grow.
At the beginning of August, American Airlines told FOX Business that team members who are inoculated will not only be “provided an additional day off in 2022,” but they’ll be given $50 through the company’s employee recognition platform.
American CEO Doug Parker previously told The New York Times that he favors incentives, “but we’re not putting mandates in place.”
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A few weeks later, Delta Air Lines said that any unvaccinated employees on Delta’s account-based health care plan will get hit with a $200 monthly surcharge starting Nov. 1. It’s a necessary policy, according to CEO Ed Bastian, who noted that the average hospital stay for a patient with COVID-19 costs the carrier about $50,000 per person.
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|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC.||20.07||+0.69||+3.53%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS, INC.||45.20||+1.34||+3.06%|
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES, INC.||40.52||+0.89||+2.24%|
Comparatively, United Airlines employees face a Sept. 27 deadline for getting vaccinated.
The carrier went as far as to say that any employee whose bid for exemptions based on medical reasons or religious beliefs is denied will get five more weeks to get vaccinated.
After that, the airline said, they will face termination or unpaid leave.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.