Vaccine exempt United Airlines employees can return to jobs

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Vaccine exempt United Airlines employees can return to jobs

United Airlines, which was one of the first major businesses to mandate vaccination against the coronavirus, later this month granted those workers religious or medical exemptions from getting a shot at returning to their jobs.

Last year, about 2,200 United employees were exempt. They were placed on unpaid leave or taken into roles that did not involve personal contact with clients. Those employees will be able to return to their normal positions on March 28.

“We expect COVID case counts, hospitalizations and deaths to continue to decline nationally over the next few weeks, and accordingly, we plan to welcome those employees back,” said United for Human Resources. Kirk Limacher, vice president, said in a note to employees on Thursday.

The Wall Street Journal previously reported the airline’s plans.

United announced its vaccine mandate in early August, being one of the first major corporations to do so. As of October, nearly all of the airline’s 67,000 employees had been vaccinated in one of the largest and most successful corporate vaccination efforts of the time. About 200 employees were subsequently fired for failing to comply with the policy, and all new employees are required to be vaccinated.

Since the start of the pandemic, the airline’s chief executive, Scott Kirby, has written letters to the families of employees who died of the virus, a practice he once described as “the worst thing I believe I can do in my life.” I will ever do”. Livelihood.” As soon as Delta Edition began its spread over the summer, it decided to do something about it.

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“We concluded that enough is enough,” he said in an interview with The New York Times last year. “People are dying, and we can do something to stop it.”

In January, Mr Kirby said the vaccine mandate had saved an estimated eight to 10 United workers’ lives since the end of September. In his note on Thursday, Mr Limacher said vaccinated workers were “remarkably safe” compared to those who were approved for exemption, five of whom had died since November.

The nation is easing pandemic restrictions as the Omicron virus wave subsides. If a new version emerges or the case count rises again, the airline can adjust course, Mr Limacher said.

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