United Airlines has joined a growing list of major corporations that are mandating that all employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.
ABC News and CNN report that the airline announced the new rule in an internal memo to employees. United set a deadline for all employees to provide proof of vaccination to a company website by late October — a deadline that may be moved up in the event that a vaccine receives full approval by the FDA.
United is the first major airline to require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The company added that it is not currently considering a rule requiring airline passengers to be vaccinated.
"We know some of you will disagree with this decision to require the vaccine for all United employees," the airline said in email to staff, according to CNN. "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."
The company will reportedly consider vaccine exemptions for employees on the grounds of health or religious reasons on a case-by-case basis. Those employees who receive an exemption will need to wear a mask at all times.
United also told employees that it was offering an additional day of pay for some employees who upload proof of vaccination by Sept. 20.
CNN reports that United is currently in discussions with unions about the new rules but has not reached a formal agreement.
Earlier this year, United said it would require all new hires to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Delta later adopted a similar policy for new hires.
According to NBC News, United is just the latest major company to mandate that all employees get vaccinated as the highly contagious delta variant spreads throughout the country. Companies like Facebook, Google and The New York Times have said they will require those who wish to return to the office to be fully vaccinated before they do so.