Southwest Airlines WONT fire unvaccinated staff as long as they wear masks and socially distance 

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Southwest Airlines WONT fire unvaccinated staff: Workers who refuse the shot by December 8 deadline will be allowed to continue working as long as they wear masks and socially distance

  • The rules apply to Southwest employees who have applied for but not yet received a religious or medical exemption 
  • As a federal contractor, Southwest Airlines is subject to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate 
  • Rules for federal contractors are tougher than those expected of large companies, which will allow for regular COVID-19 testing as an alterative
  • Labor unions for the company’s pilots have attempted to either block the mandate or allow for testing as an alternative
  • If employees’ requests for an exemption haven’t been approved by December 8, they could continue to work 
  • All those employees would need to be following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed 


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Southwest Airlines is canceling a plan to put some unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave following the federal deadline in December. 

The rules apply to Southwest employees who have applied for but not yet received a religious or medical exemption. 

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As a federal contractor, Southwest Airlines is subject to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Employers with a certain number of workers need to have all of them vaccinated unless they are exempt for medical and religious reasons by December 8.  

Rules for federal contractors are tougher than those expected of large companies, which will allow for regular COVID-19 testing as an alterative to a vaccination.

Labor unions for the company’s pilots have attempted to either block the mandate or allow for testing as an alternative. 

Southwest Airlines is canceling a plan to put some unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave following the federal deadline in December

Southwest Airlines is canceling a plan to put some unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave following the federal deadline in December

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The rules apply to Southwest employees who have applied for but not yet received a religious or medical exemption

The rules apply to Southwest employees who have applied for but not yet received a religious or medical exemption

As a federal contractor, Southwest Airlines is subject to the Biden administration's COVID-19 vaccine mandate

As a federal contractor, Southwest Airlines is subject to the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Southwest’s senior VP of operations and hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Julie Weber, VP and ‘chief people officer’, wrote in a letter to staffers that if employees’ requests for an exemption haven’t been approved by December 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed.

Employees currently have until November 24 to either get their vaccinations or apply for exemption. 

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Southwest will keep paying employees while they review the request and will allow those who are rejected to keep working ‘as we coordinate with them on meeting the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation).’ 

In addition, Southwest will give employees a chance to reapply for rejected exemptions if they have ‘new information or circumstances.’ 

All new hire employees must still be fully vaccinated.  

‘This is a change from what was previously communicated,’ the letter said. ‘Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case.’

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Southwest confirmed the policy change to CNBC, which comes just weeks before the deadline.    

Southwest's senior VP of operations and hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Julie Weber, VP and 'chief people officer', wrote in a letter to staffers that if employees' requests for an exemption haven't been approved by December 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed

Southwest’s senior VP of operations and hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Julie Weber, VP and ‘chief people officer’, wrote in a letter to staffers that if employees’ requests for an exemption haven’t been approved by December 8, they could continue to work while following mask and distancing guidelines until the request has been reviewed

'This is a change from what was previously communicated,' the letter said. 'Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case'

‘This is a change from what was previously communicated,’ the letter said. ‘Initially, we communicated that these Employees would be put on unpaid leave and that is no longer the case’

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