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United Responds to Requests for Reasonable Accommodation

Date: September 14, 2021

AFA has been made aware that United has begun the initial phase of advising those requesting a Reasonable Accommodation exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination mandate across all business units of the company.  The company continues to review these requests on an individual basis.  Contrary to some assertions in social media, the company has neither “blanket” approved or denied these requests.

Flight Attendants who have submitted requests are receiving e-mails directing them to their individual Help Hub case for additional information.  In general, we are learning, if your submission for a religious reasonable accommodation has been approved and if you do not acknowledge the accommodation or do not respond within five (5) calendar days after the date of notification, in our operational, customer facing role, you will be placed on a personal leave of absence effective October 2, 2021.  

This is a contractual personal leave of absence as defined in Section 15.D. of our Contract.  Key points to note:

  • This is an unpaid Leave of Absence.
  • Online pass travel benefits are available for ninety (90) days.
  • Pay and vacation longevity steps are affected after 180 days.
  • You will bid for your 2022 vacation bid periods and will receive pay for that vacation in the month which follows your awarded vacation.
  • Flight Attendants are responsible for the full cost of medical benefits during the leave.  Direct billing will begin effective for November 2021 premiums. (You will likely receive a bill mid-October detailing payment due for November.)
  • The duration of the leave is determined by the company based on requirements of service and the reason for the leave.

If you are currently on a leave of any type, you will be placed on a personal leave status once cleared to return to work from your current leave.

This accommodation will be re-evaluated on an on-going basis, within the context of the pandemic conditions, for appropriateness. Once the pandemic “meaningfully recedes” you will be welcomed back on an active basis.  (Meaningfully recedes has not been defined by management.)

If, on the other hand, you withdraw your accommodation request, you are required to get fully vaccinated within five (5) weeks from your withdraw date and you must get your first shot no later than September 27, 2021.

If you withdraw on or after September 27, 2021, you must receive your first vaccination within one week of the withdraw date and complete vaccination within five (5) weeks.   All documents must be uploaded via MyInfo on the Flying Together website.

Direct all questions to the United Employee Service Center at 1-877- 825 3729.

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