Delta Airlines warned its unvaccinated employees they will have to pay an additional $200 per month for their company-sponsored health care plan if they don’t get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Ed Bastian, chief executive officer of the U.S. air carrier, notified workers of the surcharge in a memo Wednesday and said it would take effect November 1.
Bastian said the surcharge was necessary because the average hospital stay to treat COVID-19 costs the airline $50,000, exposing the company to more financial risk.
Bastian said 75% of the company’s workers have been vaccinated, an increase from 72% in mid-July. He said all Delta workers who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 in recent weeks were not fully vaccinated.
Delta also said Wednesday it would stop providing paid leave starting September 30 to workers who become infected. The airline said it will also require unvaccinated workers to undergo weekly testing beginning September 12 and to wear masks in all indoor settings.
U.S. President Joe Biden has called on companies and local governments to get their employees vaccinated. A number of companies have complied, including United Airlines, which requires employees to get vaccinated by September 27 or face termination.
American and Southwest airlines are among the other large major U.S. airlines that say they are urging workers to get vaccinated but have not required it.