May 13, 2022
  • May 13, 2022

Delta will charge more unvaccinated employees for health insurance

By on August 25, 2021 0

The airline said that as of November 1, unvaccinated staff will pay up to $ 200 more per month for their company’s health insurance, depending on coverage. It will also limit the number of sick days that unvaccinated employees are allowed to take if they contract Covid-19.

It will also require unvaccinated employees to take weekly Covid tests.

Delta (DAL) CEO Ed Bastian made the announcement in a company-wide memo, which the company shared with CNN.

“While we can be proud of our 75% vaccination rate, the aggressiveness of the variant means we need to get many more of our people vaccinated, and as close to 100% as possible,” Bastian said.

“The average hospital stay for Covid-19 cost Delta $ 50,000 per person,” the airline said. “This supplement will be necessary to address the financial risk that the decision not to vaccinate creates for our business.”

Since the rise of the Delta variant, whose name has nothing to do with the airline, all cases of Covid-19 among Delta employees are among the unvaccinated, according to the company.

“It doesn’t just cost lives, it also costs us financial resources,” Bastain told CNN on Wednesday.

Delta is only now returning to profitability after losing $ 12.9 billion since the start of 2020.

Delta says that starting September 12, any U.S. employee who is not fully vaccinated will be required to take a weekly coronavirus test “as case rates in the community are high.” The airline says those who test positive will need to self-isolate and stay out of the workplace.

And there will be new limits for unvaccinated workers who become ill with Covid-19, or who cannot work because of a positive test.

Under legislation passed by Congress last year, Delta employees who are ill are granted up to 14 days of “Covid wage protection” before they are required to start using their standard sick days at the company. This will end for unvaccinated employees on September 30, Delta said.

“In accordance with national and local laws, Covid salary protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who experience a breakthrough infection,” the note told employees.

The airline also requires that unvaccinated employees wear masks in “all Delta indoor environments.” A federal mask mandate for air travel, both passenger and staff, remains in place until at least January 18, 2022.

Delta shut down ahead of rival vaccine tenure United Airlines (UAL) imposed on its American employees. The country’s other two major airlines, American and Southwest, also shut down ahead of a warrant.
But a number of other high-profile companies have started implementing warrants in response to the upsurge in cases of Delta variant covid, including large tech companies such as Google (GOOG) and Facebook (FB), and Wall Street banks such as Goldman Sachs (SG) and Morgan stanley (MRS).
But many other employers are reluctant to impose vaccination mandates, fearing that they will lose employees if they impose a mandate. Among unvaccinated workers asked what they would do if their employer instituted a mandate, 50% said they would quit their jobs, according to a survey in June by health policy think tank KFF.

“Each company must make its own decision [on mandates] for its culture, its people, what works according to its values, ”Bastian told CNN. “I think these additional voluntary measures, unless we make a vaccine mandatory, will get us as close to 100% as possible. “

United CEO Scott Kirby told CNN in a recent interview that his airline’s vaccine mandate has caused some reluctance from employees who oppose the vaccine. But he said he was pleasantly surprised that the overwhelming majority of employees who contacted him about the mandate support the requirement.

“The reason we did this is that I know that in a year, even if there are people who are still not happy with me, there will be people alive who otherwise are not. wouldn’t have been because we needed a vaccine, ”Kirby told CNN.

United is giving employees who get vaccinated an extra vacation day and $ 50.

“With the alarming increase in cases of Delta variant covid, companies are faced with the difficult decision of providing a safe workplace by using carrots and sticks to get employees to vaccinate or impose a vaccination mandate at risk. to alienate and possibly lose some employees, ”said Joe Holt. , professor of business ethics at Notre Dame. “It seems more likely that a big stick will motivate employees more than small carrots.”

Holt says he would be worried if the logic were extended and companies started charging higher health insurance rates or limiting sick days for employees who smoke or are overweight.

“But it’s a yellow light, to proceed with caution,” he said. “I don’t know if this is a red light for this case, given the seriousness of the Covid-19 threat.”

He said that in these cases, the risky behavior does not pose the threat to other employees that an unvaccinated employee poses to his colleagues.

“It’s an important social responsibility for businesses to solve,” Holt said. “Lives are at stake.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the average cost for Delta employees hospitalized with Covid-19. It’s $ 50,000 per person.


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