United Airlines is laying off about 600 employees for refusing to comply with their vaccination requirements, the company said in a memo sent to employees on Tuesday.
“This was an incredibly difficult decision, but the safety of our team has always been our first priority,” the airline said in the memo.
The company announced on Wednesday that it had already started the termination process for its US-based employees. Workers who lose their jobs for non-compliance make up less than 1 percent of the airline’s 67,000 US workforce.
“We will work with people if they choose to vaccinate during this process,” said a United Airlines spokeswoman, who did not provide a timeline for the cancellation process.
In early August, the airline announced that all employees must provide proof of vaccination within five weeks of a vaccine being fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration or by October 25, whichever comes first. The FDA granted full approval to Pfizer-BioNTech’s coronavirus vaccine for people aged 16 and over in late August. United also announced plans to lay off employees who did not adhere to the new policy.
Other airlines have taken other measures to encourage staff to vaccinate. Delta Air Lines announced last month that it is adding a monthly allowance of $ 200 to its health plan for unvaccinated employees. The company also said new employees must be vaccinated but existing employees are exempt. American Airlines said there were “no mandates” for employees or customers.