In an attempt to nudge employees towards a COVID-19 vaccine, Delta Airlines offered incentives like monetary bonuses and paid time off.
Now comes the disincentives.
The airline will impose a $200 monthly surcharge on employees who haven’t been inoculated by November 1st. The aggressive move makes Delta the first major U.S. company to levy a penalty on unvaccinated workers, according to Bloomberg. Unvaccinated workers will also have to submit to weekly tests and they’re required to wear a mask on company property.
Delta CEO Ed Bastian said the fee is designed to “address the financial risk” the unvaccinated force the company to endure. The average hospital stay for COVID-19 patients has cost Delta $40,000, he explained.
“We’ve always known that vaccinations are the most effective tool to keep our people safe and healthy in the face of this global health crisis,” Bastian wrote in a memo to staff. “That’s why we’re taking additional, robust actions to increase our vaccination rate.”
Bastian said 75% of his 68,000 employees are already vaccinated. He claimed that since the outset of the delta variant, no vaccinated employee has required hospitalization.
Earlier this month, United Airlines announced that it would require all employees to be vaccinated or risk termination.
Goldman Sachs, Google and Facebook have also have announced vaccine requirements.