Southwest drops plan to place unvaccinated employees on unpaid go away

Travelers wait to check-in at the Southwest Airlines ticket booth at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on October 11, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland.

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Southwest Airlines has abandoned a plan to put unvaccinated employees who have filed an application but have not received a religious or medical exemption on unpaid leave beyond a state deadline in December.

Southwest Airlines and American Airlines belong to the transport companies that are federal contractors and are subject to the Biden administrative obligation, against which their employees must be vaccinated Covid-19 until December 8th, unless exempted for medical or religious reasons. The rules for state contractors are stricter than this expected for large companies, which enables regular Covid tests as an alternative to a vaccination.

Executives of both airlines have been trying in the past few days to reassure employees about job security under the mandate and asking them to apply for exemptions if they cannot be vaccinated for medical or sincere religious beliefs. Airlines are expected to ask more questions about the mandate when the quarterly results are released on Thursday morning. Pilot unions tried to block the mandates or looked for alternatives such as regular tests.

Southwest’s Senior Vice President of Operations and Hospitality, Steve Goldberg, and Vice President and Chief People Officer Julie Weber, wrote to employees on Friday that if employees’ requests for an exception are not approved by December 8th, they will continue to work in accordance with the mask and spacing guidelines until the request has been verified.

The company gives employees until November 24 to complete their vaccinations or apply for an exemption. It will continue to pay them while the company reviews their requests, saying that it will allow the rejected individuals to continue working “while we coordinate with them on whether the requirements (vaccine or valid accommodation) are met”.

“This is a change from what was previously communicated. Initially, we communicated that these employees were taking unpaid leave and that is no longer the case,” they wrote on the CNBC-verified note.

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

United Airlines implemented its own vaccine mandate in August, a month before the government rules were announced. United had told employees that if they were given exemptions, they would take unpaid leave. More than 96% of the employees are vaccinated. Some employees sued the company for unpaid leave, and a federal judge in Fort Worth, Texas has temporarily prevented the airline from proceeding with its plan.

American CEO Doug Parker met with union leaders Thursday to discuss vaccination exemptions.

American Airlines management “indicated that, contrary to United’s approach, they are looking for accommodations that allow employees to keep working,” said the Association of Professional Flight Attendants, the union that directs American flight attendants Airlines represents, in a notice to members Monday. “You have not given any information about what such accommodations might look like at that time.”

Hundreds of Southwest employees, customers and other protesters demonstrated against the vaccination mandate outside Southwest Airlines’ headquarters in Dallas on Monday, the Dallas Morning News reported.

An airline spokeswoman said the airline was aware of the demonstration.

“Southwest recognizes various positions regarding the Covid-19 vaccine and we always support and will continue to support the right of our employees to speak up by having open lines of communication to share problems and concerns” , she said.

Southwest’s Goldberg and Weber advised employees that if their application for exemption is denied, employees can reapply if the employee “has new information or circumstances that the company should consider”.

Southwest is demanding that new hires be vaccinated, as is American Airlines for new staff for mainline operations, spokesmen said.

Delta Airlines is also a federal contractor who is subject to state requirements but does not yet require vaccinations for staff. Last week the carrier reported that about 90% of the approximately 80,000 employees are vaccinated. In August, Delta announced that unvaccinated workers would start Pay $ 200 more a month for company health insurance in November.

Are you owed cash from an employer? The best way to test and declare unpaid wages

Do you have unclaimed wages?

Sarah Tew / CNET

Does the federal government keep unpaid wages from an employer that you have to claim? It’s pretty easy to find out. The Department of Labor reclaimed $ 257 million in back payments in 2020. The money was collected from employers who owed workers money because, for example, they paid less than the minimum wage or withheld overtime.

In the past five years, the Department of Labor’s Wages and Hourly Department has reclaimed wages for more than 1.3 million workers. If the government agency determines that an employer owes you wage payments, it could cause the company to pay the difference. However, if the agency can’t find you to give you the money (for example, if you’ve moved or changed your name), they’ll keep the arrears wages that you can claim.

We explain how to find out if you need to get back unpaid wages and how to claim them. In the meantime, here’s how to see quickly when your state owes you money. If you have kids, find your share of that Child tax credit of $ 3,600 and what two IRS portals Will do.

Why is the US government holding my rebate?

When the Department of Labor’s payroll department determines that an employer has violated minimum wage and overtime laws that fall under the law Fair Labor Lawit seeks to regain those unpaid wages by having the employer pay you the full amount it owes you.

If the agency is unable to contact you, they will withhold your wages for three years. After that, it is a legal requirement to send the money to the US Treasury Department. After this time, you can no longer request any repayment.

This is how you can see if you have a refund to make a claim

There is a quick and easy way to find out if there are unpaid wages to which you are entitled.

1. Go to the DOLs Search tool for employee wages owed.

2. By doing Find the employer by name In the box, enter the company name that may owe you wages and tap WOW search Button.

3. When the search tool finds a match, it will display the company name in the results box. Select the company and tap Next.

4th. In the next window, enter your first and last name and tap Submit. If the tool determines that the department is holding unclaimed wages, it will direct you to a DOL office that can review your information and then send a check for the back payment.

How to claim unpaid wages from an employer to get your money

If you believe your employer has withheld wages not listed in the Workers Owed Wages tool above, you can make a complaint with the DOL. You will need to provide information such as pay, hours worked, and payroll to the DOL in order to determine whether to initiate an investigation. You can also contact your state’s employment agency File a complaint.

Cash with magnifying glass

You can file a complaint if you think your employer owes you money.

Sarah Tew / CNET

What are the current minimum wage and overtime rules?

The federal minimum wage is $ 7.25 per hour. A state may have a higher minimum wage, and in a situation where an employee falls under both federal and state wage laws, the employee may qualify for the higher minimum wage. Check with your state employment agency for more.

Employees who are under the Federal overtime regulations should receive 1.5 times their regular wage after working 40 hours in one working week. Note that federal regulations do not mandate overtime pay for weekends or holidays unless work on those days exceeds 40 hours in a work week. Note that state laws may define overtime differently. California, for example, charges overtime pay for one 8 hours working day.

For more ways to keep track of the money the government owes you, see How to Check the Status of Your Money Income tax refundhow to get thousands back on their feet Childcare costs and as you can see who to expect from July with the month Child tax credits.

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