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Alaska Airlines introduces $200 bonus for vaccinated staff

Tamara Hardingham-Gill, CNN

Alaska Airlines is handing out a $200 incentive to employees who can prove that they’ve been fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

In an online statement published this week, the Seattle-based carrier announced that it would be rewarding staff who submit proof by October 15 with a bonus in a bid to encourage more to get vaccinated.

The airline has also made the decision to put a stop to “special COVID pay” for unvaccinated employees for any absences caused by exposure to the virus or infection.

Those who are not vaccinated will also be required to attend “a vaccine education program,” while a “testing protocol” is to be brought in as “another layer of safety.”

Meanwhile, any new staff joining Alaska Airlines and its subsidiary Horizon Air are required to be fully vaccinated before they are brought on board, the airline said.

Around 75% of its 20,000 or so employees are already vaccinated, according to the airline, which has recognized that it has “more work to do” when it comes to increasing vaccination rates amongst workers.

The move comes after United Airlines became the first major US airline to implement a vaccination mandate last month.

“We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees,” the airline said in an email to staff.

“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.”

Southwest Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Air Lines have all confirmed that they will not be mandating vaccination shots.

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