Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian notified employees Wednesday that they’re going to face $200 monthly increases on their insurance premiums starting Nov. 1 if they aren’t vaccinated against Covid-19, citing steep costs to hide employees who are hospitalized with the virus.
Unvaccinated employees will face other restrictions, including indoor masking effective immediately and weekly Covid-19 tests starting Sept. 12 the Atlanta-based airline said in announcing new Covid policies for workers
The measures are the newest attempt by a U.S. corporation to approach Covid vaccination rates. Delta stopped in need of an outright mandate like rival United Airlines established earlier this month. The airline, which self insures its employees, stands get in its plans to lift premiums for unvaccinated workers to hide the upper costs of insuring employees who get Covid.
“The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $40,000 per person,” Bastian said in an employee memo. “This surcharge are necessary to deal with the financial risk the choice to not vaccinate is creating for our company. In recent weeks since the increase of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who are hospitalized with COVID weren’t fully vaccinated.”
Delta is self-insured and United Healthcare administers the airline’s insurance plans. The change in approach was Delta’s initiative.
Delta also said starting Sept. 30, “in compliance with state and native laws, COVID pay protection will only be provided to totally vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection.” Unvaccinated employees who contract Covid, without exemptions, will must use their sick days afterward.
CEO Bastian said about 75% of Delta’s roughly 75,000 employees are already vaccinated which “aggressiveness of the [delta] variant means we want to induce more of our people vaccinated, and as near one hundred pc as possible.”
Delta earlier this year started requiring new employees to be vaccinated against Covid.
On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave full approval to the Pfizer vaccine though a Delta Air Lines spokeswoman said the plan had been within the works for weeks which the timing was coincidental.
Alaska Airlines earlier this month told employees that it absolutely was considering requiring employees to be vaccinated against Covid but that it might only do so after one in every of the vaccines received full approval. Frontier Airlines said this month that employees need to be vaccinated or test regularly for Covid.
Delta, which has the fewest unionized employees of the big U.S. airlines, said it informed the Air Line Pilots Association, their aviators’ organization, of the changes.
Airlines are among the hardest-hit companies by the pandemic, and therefore the rise of the delta Covid variant is already driving down a recent recovery in bookings, per airlines including Southwest, American Airlines and Spirit.