In the coming weeks and months, Delta Air Lines will increase the pressure on employees to be vaccinated with a number of increasingly burdensome requirements even though they have not achieved mandates from other airlines and companies.
In a letter to staff on Wednesday, the airline’s CEO Ed Bastian said those who have not been vaccinated must immediately wear masks indoors. From September 12th, they will also have to undergo weekly coronavirus tests.
On September 30, unvaccinated workers will lose wage protection for employees who test positive for the virus and miss work while being quarantined. After all, starting November 1, any employee who remains unvaccinated will have to pay an additional $ 200 per month to receive the company’s health plan.
“This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk that the decision not to vaccinate entails for our company,” said Bastian. “In the last few weeks since variant B.1.617.2 appeared, all Delta employees who were hospitalized with Covid were not fully vaccinated.”
The average coronavirus-related hospital stay cost the company about $ 50,000 per person, he said. (The airline stated the cost was $ 40,000, but later corrected the figure.) Like many large employers, Delta insures its own employees, which means it pays health care bills directly and hires insurance companies to manage its plans.
The burdensome requirements apply to a shrinking proportion of the airline’s workforce, as 75 percent of employees are now vaccinated, Bastian said.
“We have always known that vaccinations are the most effective way to keep our people safe and healthy in the face of this global health crisis,” he said. “That’s why we’re taking additional, robust measures to increase our vaccination rate.”
Atlanta-based Delta, its largest hub, operates the largest vaccination center in Georgia from its flight museum, Bastian said. More than 115,000 doses were given to citizens and more than 150,000 doses to employees, their families and friends.
About 50.5 percent of Georgia’s adult population is fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is the state at the bottom of the country.
The airline’s approach differs from that of some of its competitors. For example, earlier this month United Airlines announced that they would need vaccines across the board. This mandate comes into force on September 27th. United employees who provide proof of vaccination by September 20 will receive full daily wages. Frontier Airlines, a smaller airline, said it would require a vaccination by October 1.