Vaccine mandates: United Airlines lays out employee rules

Aneela SiddiquiWeb Editor

09th Sep, 2021. 12:42 pm

United Airlines stated that more than half of its employees who weren’t vaccinated last month have gotten the vaccine shots since the airline announced that it will require proof of vaccination.

The airline’s 67,000 U.S.-based employees face a Sept. 27 deadline for getting vaccinated or face termination or unpaid leave.

United’s vice president of human resources, Kirk Limacher, made the statement regarding vaccination on Wednesday in memos to employees outlining how the company will handle requests for vaccination exemptions based on medical or religious reasons.

United Airlines declined to specify how many employees have recently been vaccinated, what percentage of the workforce has been vaccinated, or how many people have requested an exemptions.

The airline said that in most cases, employees who refuse to get vaccinated won’t be allowed into the workplace starting Oct. 2.  They will be placed on unpaid leave or face termination proceedings, which may cause their departure to be postponed beyond early October.

Medical exemption requests will be considered by medical professionals, including nurses, while religious exemption requests will be managed by personnel-office employees, according to United.

Depending on the job of employee, the process for dealing with exemption seekers will differ slightly.

If their exemption petitions are denied, employees will have another five weeks to get vaccinated or face termination. When employees are granted a medical or religious exemption, the policy becomes more problematic.

Starting Oct. 2, workers who often interact with passengers, including as flight attendants, gate agents, and pilots, whose exemptions are approved will face indefinite unpaid leave starting Oct. 2.

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