Delta Air Lines, citing the price of a COVID-19 hospital stay, announced Wednesday that unvaccinated workers will soon find a $200 monthly surcharge on their paystubs to cover health care coverage increases. Starting November 1, unvaccinated workers will notice the increase on their paychecks.
“The average hospital stay for COVID-19 has cost Delta $40,000 per person,” Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in an employee memo. “This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company. In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with COVID were not fully vaccinated.”
That’s not the only change Delta is ready to roll out. The company also announced starting September 30 “in compliance with state and local laws, COVID pay protection will only be provided to fully vaccinated individuals who are experiencing a breakthrough infection.”
The CEO noted that around 75% of company employees are vaccinated, but the company has yet to institute a vaccine mandate. Instead, it will go with the $200 surcharge for those who wish to remain unvaccinated.
The unvaccinated workers will also face indoor masking and, beginning September 12, weekly COVID tests. At rival United Airlines, that company announced in early August that workers will be mandated to get the vaccine by late October.
United will then require workers to send an image of their vaccine card to the company to hold on file. Those who refuse will be terminated unless the employee can prove a religious or health exemption. United will reward workers who get vaccinated with an extra day of pay.