Southwest Airlines to give bonus pay to COVID-19 vaccinated employees

Southwest Airlines has announced a new incentive for employees to urge them to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

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The company announced Wednesday that it will offer 16 hours of extra pay if they submit proof of full vaccination by Nov. 15, CNBC reported.

“If you have not been vaccinated and choose to do so, this timeline gives you enough time to receive both rounds of a two-series vaccine or the single-dose vaccine,” Southwest told employees, according to The Hill.

Flight attendants and pilots will get extra pay equal to 13 trip segments.

The company had said last week that it was “prepared to move toward compliance with President Joe Biden’s plan to have more people vaccinated, but the company said the incentive is not related to the administration’s rules, CNBC reported.

Biden has requested the Department of Labor to make the vaccine mandatory for companies with more than 100 employees.

While those who are fully vaccinated will be rewarded for getting the shot, those who have not will lose some benefits, CNBC reported.

Southwest told employees that if they are unvaccinated and get sick from COVID-19 or are exposed to the virus, they will not have quarantine pay protection. However, they can use their normal sick time, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The sick time policy is effective Nov. 15, the newspaper reported.

The company admits that people have made a personal decision whether or not to get vaccinated.

“There are a lot of opinions swirling right now around COVID-19 vaccines, and we respect that every employee has individual thoughts on the topic,” a memo to employees said, according to the Morning News. “That said, Southwest supports vaccines as our best line of defense against COVID to protect our employees and the customers you are serving each and every day, as well as maintain a reliable operation.”

Other airlines have put initiatives into effect to encourage employees to become vaccinated.

Delta Air Lines has started a $200 monthly health insurance surcharge that applies to workers who are not vaccinated.

American Airlines also did away with special leave for unvaccinated workers but is giving an extra day off and a $50 credit for various reward programs, the Morning News reported.


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