(CMR) Employees of America's third-largest airline, Delta, will be required to pay a $200 monthly surcharge for the company's healthcare plan if they have not received the COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said it would only pay sick pay to employees who are infected with the COVID-19 if they have received the double-jabbed but still get infected.
In a memo to staff, the head of the company Ed Bastian said the new policy would help stem the “aggressive spread” of the virus.
The surcharge will apply from November 1 to staff enrolled in its healthcare insurance plan, meaning most of its 75,000 workers will be affected.
“The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person. This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company,” Bastain said.
He added that “in recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.”
Effective immediately, Bastian said unvaccinated employees are required to wear masks in all indoor Delta settings. This requirement will remain in place until community case rates stabilize.
Starting September 12, any US employee who is not fully vaccinated will be required to take a COVID test each week. Those with a positive result will need to isolate themselves and remain out of the workplace.
“I know some of you may be taking a wait-and-see approach or waiting for full FDA approval. With this week’s announcement that the FDA has granted full approval for the Pfizer vaccine, the time for you to get vaccinated is now. We can be confident that the Pfizer vaccine is safe and effective and has undergone the same rigorous review for other approved medications to treat cancer and heart disease, as well as other vaccines,” Bastian added.