American, Alaska Air will end pay protections for unvaccinated staff if they contract Covid

American Airlines Flight 718 is the first commercial Boeing 737 MAX flight from the United States since November's 20-month grounded. It departs Miami, Florida on December 29, 2020.
American Airlines and Alaska Airlines won't cover Covid-19 quarantine for employees who haven't been vaccinated. This is the latest push to inoculate staff.

American stated in a memo to staff on Thursday that "Going forward" he said that, since there is an FDA-approved vaccine for pandemics, team members will be granted only pandemic leave if they are fully vaccinated. He also noted that the FDA approved vaccine will only be available to those who have provided their vaccination cards to us. This change will take effect on Oct. 1. Unvaccinated workers who miss work due to Covid will need to use their sick leave or medical leave.

Similar changes were made by Alaska Airlines on Aug. 30,

Both airlines did not establish a mandate for vaccines like that of United Airlines last month. The policy changes reveal divergent tactics by carriers to encourage workers to get vaccinated.

Alaska Airlines announced Thursday that it will pay $200 to employees who show proof of Covid-19 vaccination. Those who fail to do so would be considered unvaccinated. Employees who are not vaccinated will be required to wear masks on the job, and must attend mandatory vaccine education programs.

Southwest Airlines, which doesn't require employees be vaccinated as well, announced that it would pay back or give time off workers who were forced to quarantine because of a Covid-19 infection, or who were in close contact, retroactively to June 16. This program was ended by Southwest Airlines in June due to a decrease in Covid cases, and high vaccine availability.

Southwest pilots union sued the airline earlier this week, alleging that Covid-related policies, including the ending of paid time off for infection or exposure, necessitated negotiation with the union.

Brandy King, spokeswoman for Southwest, stated that COVID-19 cases are on the rise due to the Delta variant. Southwest has taken an additional step to support its Employees and implemented a Quarantine Pay Program. This policy will allow staff who were previously quarantined for Company-related events to be able to regain their time off balances.

Delta Air Lines announced last week that it will charge $200 per month to employees who are not vaccinated if they do not have company insurance. The Atlanta-based airline is