JPMorgan Bans Business Travel for Unvaccinated U.S. Employees – Memo | Investing News


(Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co said on Monday it will restrict business travel for U.S. employees who are unvaccinated or have not disclosed their vaccination status to the bank, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.

The bank has also mandated such staffers to be tested twice a week, and said they would need to contribute a higher cut of their pay towards medical insurance, to account for testing expenses.

The Wall Street bank has urged its employees to get their COVID-19 shots, but not mandated vaccines, in line with peers such as Bank of America Corp and Wells Fargo & Co.

JPMorgan Chase will also require proof of vaccination from employees participating in client events in-person, effective immediately, according to the memo.

The bank also said new joiners in client-facing roles or those required to travel for business will have to get vaccinated.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.



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At First Deadline, Less Than 1 Percent of United U.S. Employees Unvaccinated


After passing the deadline for its Covid-19 vaccine mandate, more than 99 percent of United Airlines’ U.S.-based employees have been vaccinated, according to a memo from CEO Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart to United employees.

United announced its vaccine mandate in August with the Sept. 27 deadline later determined by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine. Last week, the carrier reported more than 97 percent of its U.S.-based employees were vaccinated.

“We know for some, that decision [to get vaccinated] was a reluctant one,” Kirby and Hart said in the memo. “But there’s no doubt in our minds that some of you will have avoided a future hospital stay, or even death, because you got vaccinated.”

The Sept. 27 deadline was for employees to get and upload records of their first dose of a vaccine. Employees have until Oct. 31 to be fully vaccinated.

United also is beginning the process of terminating the less than 1 percent of employees who opted not to get vaccinated, according to Kirby and Hart.



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United: 97 Percent of U.S. Employees are Vaccinated


More than 97 percent of United Airlines’ U.S. employees are vaccinated against Covid-19 as the carrier’s deadline for its vaccine mandate nears, the airline reported in a memo to employees this morning.

Per the mandate announced in August, United’s U.S. employees have until Sept. 27 to upload records that they have at least received their first dose of one of the approved vaccines. United said it would start the “separation process” with employees who had not received and reported their vaccination nor had been granted an extension as soon as the following day. Employees have until Oct. 31 to be fully vaccinated.

United’s mandate came before U.S. President Joe Biden announced executive orders that included asking the U.S. Department of Labor to develop a requirement for vaccines or weekly testing at any business with more than 100 employees. The 97 percent vaccination rate does not include the “small number” of employees who are seeking an exemption, according to United.



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Delta to Upcharge Health Insurance Premiums for Unvaccinated U.S. Employees


On the heels of full U.S. Food and Drug Administration
approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, Delta Air Lines plans to
charge higher health insurance premiums for employees who choose to remain
unvaccinated. It also will impose a weekly testing regimen for unvaccinated workers
in locations with high Covid-19 case counts, according to The Wall Street
Journal.

The airline in early August announced that all newly hired
employees would take a Covid-19 vaccination as a prerequisite for employment,
but it left the choice to vaccinate or not open for the carrier’s existing
employees. The new policy, again, stops short of a mandate, but puts a steep
financial motivator in play, upping insurance premiums by $200 every month,
starting in November, for unvaccinated workers who participate in the carrier’s
health insurance program.

Come Sept. 12, the carrier will require weekly Covid-19
testing for all unvaccinated employees and will require those with positive
tests to isolate away from the workplace, without Covid pay protection. The carrier
will extend paid time off for Covid-19 sick days only for vaccinated employees.

The new policies were outlined to Delta Air Lines employees
via an email from CEO Ed Bastian on Wednesday morning. They have since been published online.

According to the memo, the average hospital stay for
Covid-19 has cost Delta $50,000 per person.

“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,” the memo
stated.

Airlines have been split on how to handle vaccine
requirements for employees, despite the fact that Covid-19 decimated the travel
business in 2020, and the new B.1.617.2 variant, which is also known as the ‘delta’
variant has threatened to put ice on what looked to be a fairly robust travel
sector rebound this summer.

United
Airlines
was an early mover in mandating Covid-19 vaccinations for U.S.-based
workers, even before the jab got full approval from the FDA, or risk being
fired. American Airlines, Delta and Southwest Airlines, however, held back. American
offered an extra day off and a $50 incentive for employees to get vaccinated. Southwest
has “strongly encouraged” its employees to get vaccinated, according
to multiple news reports quoting CEO Gary Kelly. Delta’s move after the FDA
approval of the Pfizer vaccine may pave a path forward for other companies
considering mechanisms that will compel but not force hesitant employees to get
the shot.

According to the Airlines Reporting Corp., airline ticket
sales across all sales segments in the United States have dropped since the
delta variant began to rise in July. For the week ending Aug. 1, ticket sales
were down 33.5 percent from the same week in 2019. For the week ending Aug. 22,
sales were down 41.5 percent over the same week in 2019.



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Southwest Airlines apologizes to employees after ‘challenging summer travel season’


Southwest Airlines issued an apology to beleaguered workers Friday that have been frustrated over mandatory overtime, a hectic schedule and unruly passengers.

Southwest Airlines chief operating officer Mike Van de Ven said in a memo to workers that operations usually start to lighten once school starts and the vacation season starts to wane, but that didn’t happen this past week. In the last two weeks, unions leaders for pilots and flight attendants issued sharp rebukes to the company demanding better working conditions.

“The rapid recovery in Customer demand was a welcome change compared to a year ago, but we have to be honest with ourselves: it’s also taken a toll on our operation and put a significant strain on all of you, and for that, I am sincerely sorry” Van de Ven said in the memo. “Since early June, we’ve been focused on what levers we can pull to improve our operation and support you.”

Southwest Airlines had a historically bad June, landing just 62.4% of its planes on time and canceling 3,250 flights, according to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report from the Department of Transportation. Some of those problems came from weather and a technical outage that crippled flights for several days, but union leaders say the company simply scheduled more flights than it was able to handle to capture the heavy demand from travelers.

TWU Local 556, which represents the company’s 15,400 flight attendants, started a “No Way, SWA” social media campaign this week. The Southwest Airlines Pilots Union has blamed the carrier for “An aggressive lack of planning.”

In the letter, Van de Ven said the company was reevaluating its flight schedule for October, November and December.

“First, we are continuing to evaluate our fourth quarter flight schedules, and we’re taking a serious look at flight levels to ensure that our flying aligns with the staffing needed to operate within this more complicated COVID environment,” he said.

Pilots and flight attendants have further complained that hotels and transportation haven’t been available to them and adequate food isn’t available for crew members with short breaks between flights.

Van de Ven promised more improvements which should be announced soon.

“And despite all of our efforts, we have not improved the quality of your workday enough,” Van de Ven wrote. “Each day is an effort.”

Lyn Montgomery, president of the flight attendants union, told members on social media to keep pushing because the company was listening to complaints.

Casey Murray, who leads the pilots union, said he’s still waiting for improvements.

“I would like to hear actionable items rather than apologies and ‘more to come soon,’ he said.



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Qantas to require all employees receive Covid-19 vaccination | News


Qantas will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 as part of a commitment to safety.

Frontline employees – including cabin crew, pilots and airport workers – will need to be fully vaccinated by November 15th.

The remainder of employees have until the end of March.

However, there will be exemptions for those who are unable for documented medical reasons to be vaccinated, which is expected to be “very rare”.

The policy follows consultation with Qantas and Jetstar employees including a survey sent to 22,000 people to seek their views on vaccination.

The 12,000 responses received makes it one of the biggest single surveys on this topic in Australia.

The results showed that, of those who responded, 89 per cent had already been vaccinated or are planning to be.

Only four per cent were unwilling or unable to get the jab.

Thousands of aviation workers supporting international flights in New South Wales, South Australia and New Zealand are already required to be vaccinated by those jurisdictions.

Announcing the policy, Qantas Group chief executive, Alan Joyce, said: “Having a fully vaccinated workforce will safeguard our people against the virus but also protect our customers and the communities we fly to.

“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day.

“Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us.

“We provide an essential service, so this will help guard against the disruptions that can be caused by just one positive Covid-case shutting down a freight facility or airport terminal,” Joyce said.





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United to Require Vaccine for U.S. Employees


United Airlines is requiring all of its U.S.-based employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 within the next few months, CEO Scott Kirby and president Brett Hart said in a memo to employees on Friday.

The carrier’s U.S.-based employees by Oct. 25 must upload a vaccine card showing they have received either both shots of the two-dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the memo. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration before Sept. 20 announces full approval of one of the vaccines, beyond their current emergency-use authorization, that deadline moves up to five weeks beyond that approval date.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” Kirby and Hart said in the memo. “But, we have no greater responsibility to you and your colleagues than to ensure your safety when you’re at work, and the facts are crystal clear: Everyone is safer when everyone is vaccinated.”

United is the first major U.S. carrier to issue a vaccine requirement for employees, though both it and Delta Air Lines earlier this year began requiring new hires to be fully vaccinated. Kirby and Hart in the memo noted that several government, health care, educational and Fortune 100 entities in recent weeks have announced vaccine requirements, and such a mandate is supported by several medical groups, including the American Medical Association.

The carrier will have a “very narrow reasonable accommodation process,” a legal requirement, to handle those employees claiming a medical or religious exemption to vaccination, according to a United spokesperson. Anyone granted such an exemption still will be required to wear a mask at all times, the spokesperson said.



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United Airlines Will Require All U.S.-based Employees Be Vaccinated




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OHIO updates travel approval process for employees


Ohio University has updated its travel approval process for faculty and staff planning University-affiliated travel while pandemic-related safety remains a concern. 

Because the level of risk for contracting or spreading COVID-19 during or after travel varies based on multiple factors, supervisors must [should?] consider whether the individual proposing to travel is vaccinated, the mode of travel, travel activities, the prevalence of COVID-19 in area(s) visited, and the personal precautions taken by the individual. 

Please note that the process below is only for OHIO employees. Separate processes are in place for students.

Since the risk and benefit calculation of work-related travel is unique for every situation, review and approval of work-related domestic travel for OHIO employees will be handled at the supervisor level using the most up-to-date guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). International travel to countries on the CDC’s Risk Assessment Level 4: COVID-19 Very High list still will require approval of the respective unit’s Vice President. 

OHIO’s COVID Operations has prepared a toolkit to help supervisors evaluate common travel scenarios considering CDC guidance, including recommendations about information to gather when considering travel requests.

For units where travel is part of an individual’s job description, supervisors are permitted to collect vaccination status of traveling employees, out of business necessity for the limited purpose of scheduling coverage for those employees who are unvaccinated, as they must quarantine (work from home) for up to 10 days post-travel, according to CDC guidance. Supervisors must store the vaccination status securely. Supervisors who are unsure whether asking about employee vaccination status is allowable in a particular scenario may contact COVIDoperations@ohio.edu for additional guidance.

Prior to work-related travel, employees should download the International SOS Assistance App to their mobile device and create an account using their Ohio University email and the OHIO membership ID: 11BTTA887908. The app can be used to access important destination updates and advisories before and during travel. Travelers additionally should be sure to tie their Concur reservation with a mobile phone number and Ohio University email, which allows the full use of the International SOS emergency alert system. For more information, click here.  

CDC travel guidance differs for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals: 

  • Fully vaccinated individuals may travel safely within the U.S. The CDC requires that all travelers, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask on all forms of indoor public transportation and in indoor areas of conveyances, follow local recommendations and requirements, and self-monitor after travel. If traveling internationally, the destination country and/or the airline may require a negative COVID-19 test; in order to re-enter the U.S., all air passengers (even if vaccinated) must have a negative COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past three months.
  • Unvaccinated individuals should delay travel until fully vaccinated. If they must travel, they should get a viral test beforehand, wear a mask, avoid crowds and socially distance. It is recommended that they get another viral test three to five days after travel as well as quarantine for a full seven days after travel, or if not tested post-travel, quarantine for 10 days. Typically, a COVID-19 test is required for entry into foreign countries, though requirements vary greatly. A negative COVID-19 test is required to re-enter the U.S. Upon return, unvaccinated travelers are advised to follow testing and quarantine guidance similar to domestic travel.

For those making decisions on international travel, follow U.S. Department of State guidance at travel.state.gov as well as traveler resources and COVID-19 country specific information when planning. 

More detailed information about the CDC’s travel guidance is available here.  



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