American Airlines offering $50, extra vacation day to vaccinated employees

Mar 5, 2021

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Sure, we’re all eager for it to be safe to travel the world again, but few are more invested than the largest global airlines. With the ongoing pandemic and strict border restrictions impacting bookings, airlines have a greater incentive than most to see a return to normal life — and, ideally, an end to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With some states now moving to reopen — despite warnings from public health officials — vaccines may be the nation’s best hope to put the pandemic in the rear-view mirror. They’re effective, and they’re safe, but many travel industry workers need an extra push to get the shot. At American Airlines, that incentive will come in the form of an extra vacation day, along with 50 bucks.

This week, American CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom explained in an employee memo that the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now available to employees at Chicago O’Hare (ORD), and the airline is working to roll out vaccinations at other airports soon.

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The executives also didn’t shy away from highlighting the financial incentive, along with a reminder of what’s at stake:

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to earn an extra vacation day next year and $50 in recognition points. Get vaccinated as soon as possible — to protect yourself and others. More than 500,000 people in the United States have lost their lives to COVID-19, including some of our own colleagues.

American isn’t the only travel industry leader tapping an incentive program to encourage employees to get vaccinated for COVID-19. Marriott is offering four hours of extra pay to anyone who decides to get vaccinated, for example, and United Airlines is even considering mandating the shot.

If you have an opportunity to get vaccinated, you should certainly take it. You can not contract COVID-19 by getting the vaccine, and while you may feel some side effects, they’re mild for most people. According to the CDC, “The side effects from COVID-19 vaccination, such as chills or tiredness, may affect your ability to do daily activities, and they should go away in a few days.” I’d happily trade a day or two of not quite feeling 100% for the ability to return to normal life and to help prevent additional deaths.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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