United Airlines will soon require all new employees starting work with the company to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or face having their offers of employment with the Chicago-based carrier withdrawn. United is believed to be the second major U.S. airline to have introduced such a policy following the decision by Delta to introduce similar rules last month.
The details of the new policy were revealed in an internal memo obtained by Brian Sumers at Skift and since verified by United Airlines. The policy will apply to any external job applicant who is offered a job with the airline after June 15.
“As we welcome new employees to the company, it’s important we instil in them United’s strong commitment to safety,” the memo explains. “As part of this commitment, effective for all job offers made after June 15, 2021, we will require any external candidates for U.S.-based jobs to attest that they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by their start date”.
New employees who are unable to be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons will be able to apply for a reasonable accommodation.
Earlier this year, United’s chief executive Scott Kirby suggested he was keen to make the COVID-19 jab compulsory for all workers – both existing and new employees. Kirby said he would only make vaccination mandatory if other big corporations took the lead in introducing similar policies.
While most companies haven’t decided to test the legal ramifications of making COVID-19 vaccination compulsory for existing employees, United will follow the lead of Delta which has made the jab a condition of employment for new joiners. Like United, there are exemptions for new employees with a medical or religious reason for not getting vaccinated.
Earlier this week, United revealed a generous vaccination incentive scheme for flight attendants in an attempt to boost uptake amongst its workforce. A similar incentive scheme was also recently rolled out for pilots.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently used by some of the biggest names in journalism.