Approximately half of United Airlines’ workers who were not vaccinated the previous month have already had their injections after the firm declared that immunizations would be mandatory for all employees. The airline’s 67,000 U.S.-based workers must get vaccinated by September 27 in order to remain on the job. According to a statement released Wednesday by United, employees whose, requests for exemptions based on medical grounds or religious convictions are rejected will be given a further five weeks to be vaccinated.

Non-vaccinated Employees Have 5 Weeks To Comply: United Airlines

After that, according to the airline, they will be terminated or placed on unpaid leave. United’s VP of human resources, Kirk Limacher, made the remark regarding vaccines on Wednesday in letters to workers outlining the company’s policy on requests for exemptions from vaccination requirements. U.S. Airways refused to provide specifics on how many employees were recently vaccinated, what proportion of the workforce is currently vaccinated, or how many employees had sought an exemption from vaccination. The airline claims it will have enough employees to keep its timetable running through the autumn and into the Christmas season.

United Airline's Non-vaccinated Employees Have 5 Weeks To Comply

According to the airline, employees who refuse to be vaccinated will be barred from entering the workplace beginning on October 2. The company claims that requests for medical exemptions would be evaluated by medical staff members, such as nurses, while requests for religious exemptions will be handled by personnel-office workers. The procedure for dealing with employees whose exemptions have been granted will differ somewhat depending on the nature of the employee’s employment.

Beginning October 2, workers who come into regular contact with passengers, including as flight attendants, airport staff, and pilots, and whose exemptions have been granted, will be placed on indefinite unpaid leave with no pay. One of the letters states that they would not be permitted to return to work until the epidemic has “meaningfully receded.” Employees who interact with passengers on a regular basis, such as luggage handlers and mechanics, and whose exemptions have been granted will also be put on administrative leave, but only until the airline develops a plan for testing per week and obligatory mask-wearing. Employees at United’s headquarters who have been granted exemptions will be put on administrative leave until United determines the best safety steps to take, including if the individual needs to come into the workplace.

During its explanation of the restrictions to workers, United cites data on the status of the pandemic in the United States, where new infections have reached their highest possible level since March and are “expected to increase throughout the autumn as more individuals are hospitalized,” according to United. 

According to the memoranda, the majority of the instances, hospitalizations, and fatalities are caused by individuals who have not been vaccinated. United Airlines, headquartered in Chicago, has adopted the most pro-vaccination position of any airline in the United States. Delta Air Lines has announced that it would impose a $200 monthly fee on workers who are not vaccinated and are covered by the company’s health plan. Others, like American Airlines, have said that they would terminate paid leave for employees who are not vaccinated against COVID-19.