United Airlines Allowing Unvaccinated Workers Return To Work

by Quentin Blount

United Airlines will soon welcome back their unvaccinated workers who were placed on unpaid leave last year due to medical or religious reasons.

That’s right, folks. Citing the recent decline in the number of COVID-19 cases across the country, United Airlines announced that they are allowing their unvaccinated workers to return to their jobs as early as March 28. It’s a big step for a company that requires its employees in the U.S. to either get the vaccine or face termination.

What You Need To Know

  • Last year, United Airlines established the airline industry’s first and strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandate
  • Some of United’s unvaccinated workers recieved medical and religious exemptions from the mandate and were placed on unpaid leave
  • Those same unvaccinated workers will return to work this month
  • More than 96 percent of United’s 67,000 workers got the vaccine

Do you remember? United Airlines was one of the first major companies in the country to require a COVID-19 for its employees. However, there were approximately 2,220 workers who had some kind of exemption to the shot, whether that be medical or religious. Those workers were either placed on unpaid leave or were asked to move to a non-customer-facing position.

According to a recent memo released by the employer, those workers will be back on the job later this month.

“We plan to welcome back those employees who have been out on an approved [accomodation] to their normal positions starting March 28,” the memo said.

United Airlines Is the Latest Company to Update Their COVID-19 Requirements

United Airlines isn’t the only company to lift or update their COVID-19 requirements, they’re just the latest to do it. Many other businesses and organizations have done much of the same. They are all citing the recent decline in cases and hospitalizations in the decision. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even advised Americans earlier this month that they can go maskless if living in a community with a “low” or “medium” level of COVID-19.

“These changes suggest that the pandemic is beginning to meaningfully recede,” the memo said. “As a result, we’re confident we can safely begin the process of returning employees with accommodations to their jobs.”

The memo also states that it will reevaluate its protocols if need be. Just imagine if COVID-19 cases were to see another sharp increase or if another variant of the virus emerges. They would likely reverse their decision. After all, the company has long said that they are all about keeping their customers and their employees safe.

Scott Kirby is the CEO of United Airlines. He made a statement back in December saying that 200 employees were fired after they didn’t comply with the company’s vaccine mandate.

“We did this for safety,” Kirby said. “We believe it saved lives.”