WestJet Airlines requires COVID-19 vaccination for staff

There may be unpaid leaves for non-compliance

WestJet Airlines requires COVID-19 vaccination for staff

Westjet Airlines is now mandating all of its employees to get COVID-19 jabs, warning unpaid leaves and termination for those who will not comply. The Canadian airline employees must get fully vaccinated by October 30, or should be able to provide their vaccination status by September 24.

Mark Porter, WestJet executive vice-president of people, said that requiring vaccines for all their employees is "essential" for the safe restart of travel across Canada.

"Aviation has been one of the hardest hit industries and we believe requiring all WestJet Group employees to be vaccinated is the right thing to do and ensures the safest travel and work environment for everyone in WestJet’s world," Porter said in a media release.

Read more: WestJet's EVP People: 'Get practical experience as early as possible'

The company added that it will not provide testing as an alternative to vaccination but said it will "evaluate and accommodate" employees who are unable to get the jabs because of medical or other reasons. Those who fail to get the vaccines, however, could face unpaid leave or termination of employment, according to the company.

"Once we reach October 30, those (unvaccinated) individuals will then be placed on an unpaid leave for the month of November so that they can ultimately make that final determination and get the information that they need, if they so choose (to) go down the path of getting that first vaccine and then the second one four weeks after," Bartrem told Global News in an interview.

"In the event that that’s not the case come December 1, they would no longer be WestJet employees, unfortunately," he added.

Meanwhile, full vaccinations will also now be a requirement for all future employees who will be hired by WestJet Group, according to the release.

The mandate follows the government's order to have all workers under the federal sector to get the jabs. It also comes after the move of other airlines across the world to require jabs for their employees.

Orders to get the jabs are becoming widespread amid the threat of the highly contagious Delta variant. Canada has 38,351 active COVID-19 cases as of September 8, out of the 1,529,300 total infections it tallied since the beginning of the outbreak, according to the government's official data base.

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