Delta Air Lines is intensifying pressure on employees to get vaccinated with a series of increasingly burdensome requirements over the coming weeks and months, though it stopped short of the mandates that other airlines and businesses have put in place.
In a letter to employees on Wednesday, the carrier’s chief executive, Ed Bastian, said that those who have not been vaccinated will immediately be required to wear masks indoors. Starting on Sept. 12, they will also have to take weekly coronavirus tests.
On Sept. 30, unvaccinated workers will lose pay protection for employees who test positive for the virus and miss work while having to quarantine. Finally, starting on Nov. 1, any employee who remains unvaccinated will have to pay an additional $200 per month to remain on the company’s health care plan.
“This surcharge will be necessary to address the financial risk the decision to not vaccinate is creating for our company,” Mr. Bastian said. “In recent weeks since the rise of the B.1.617.2 variant, all Delta employees who have been hospitalized with Covid were not fully vaccinated.”
The average coronavirus-related hospitalization has cost the company about $40,000 per person, he said. Like many large employers, Delta insures its own work force, meaning it pays health costs directly and hires insurance companies to manage its plans.
The onerous requirements apply to a shrinking share of the airline’s work force, with 75 percent of employees now vaccinated, Mr. Bastian said.
“We’ve always known that vaccinations are the most effective tool to keep our people safe and healthy in the face of this global health crisis,” he said. “That’s why we’re taking additional, robust actions to increase our vaccination rate.”
Delta, which is based in Atlanta, its biggest hub, operates the largest vaccination site in Georgia out of its flight museum, Mr. Bastian said. More than 115,000 doses have been administered to state residents there and more than 150,000 doses have been given to employees, their family and friends.
About 50.5 percent of Georgia’s adult population is fully vaccinated, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which puts the state near the bottom of the country.
The airline’s approach differs from that of some competitors. Earlier this month, for example, United Airlines announced that it would require vaccines across the board. That mandate will take effect on Sept. 27. United employees who provide proof of vaccination by Sept. 20 will receive a full day’s pay. Frontier Airlines, a smaller carrier, said it would require vaccination by Oct. 1.
The trendy eyewear brand Warby Parker has filed for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange, a public offering whereby a company lists existing shares on the market, rather than raising money by issuing new stock.
The filing comes as a number of other online retail brands, like Allbirds and Fabletics, are preparing market debuts as tech companies and consumer names are in high demand, the DealBook newsletter reports. Warby Parker was last valued at about $3 billion in the private market.
The filing provided the first glimpse at Warby Parker’s finances. As with most digitally native brands, it is both growing quickly and losing money. It reported revenue of $270 million in the first half of this year, up more than 50 percent from the same period last year, which was dented by store closures during the pandemic. Its first-half loss narrowed to around $7 million, from $10 million last year.
Warby now generates about half of its sales online and half in its 145 stores, the company said, and it has plans to open more across the country.
As it expands, Warby Parker said that people spending more time with screens would be good for business. “The rising usage of smartphones, tablets, computers and other devices has contributed significantly to increased vision correction needs and consistent new customer growth within the eyewear market,” the company said in the filing.
Warby Parker is registering as a public benefit corporation, a designation granted to companies that take a wide range of stakeholders into account as part of their corporate missions. In Warby’s rundown of risks for investors, the company warned that “our duty to balance a variety of interests may result in actions that do not maximize stockholder value.”
Some companies that went public with such designations have stumbled, like Etsy, but rising investor interest in environmental, social and governance, or E.S.G., issues investing has made it increasingly popular. Shares of Lemonade, an insurer that is a public benefit corporation, have more than doubled from their I.P.O. price last summer. The satellite company Planet, which carries the same designation, is set to go public via SPAC.
Uber and Lyft have in recent months accelerated a push for what they call a “third way” of working, a classification of independent gig workers who receive limited benefits without gaining employee status.
But that plan was upended on Friday evening by a California judge who ruled that the ballot initiative backed by Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other so-called gig economy companies violated the state’s Constitution.
An appeal could overturn the judge’s decision, but even an expedited appeal could take several months, Kate Conger and Kellen Browning report for The New York Times.
For now, gig economy companies might be required to begin paying into workers’ compensation funds — but the companies argue that nothing will change until the appeal is resolved. They also said they had no immediate plans to change how drivers were classified. All of the provisions of ballot initiative will stay in place until the appeals process is completed, said Geoff Vetter, a spokesman for a coalition representing the companies.
Stacey Leyton, the lawyer for the drivers, disagreed, arguing that drivers ought to be considered employees immediately.
The California fight is starting to be repeated in other states. In August, the companies filed for a similar ballot push in Massachusetts, where gig worker treatment is already facing close scrutiny.
Labor activists vowed to keep up their fight and plan to help drivers’ organizing and activist efforts.
“We’ll continue to support their actions for their demand for basic rights that are afforded to them under current law, reaffirmed to them on Friday,” said Alma Hernández, the executive director for Service Employees International Union California.
After 16 months of remote work in the pandemic, companies are eager to bring their workers back the office, but many have been hesitant to institute vaccine mandates. The Food and Drug Administration’s full approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine on Monday gave them an opportunity to move forward.
Several companies have announced vaccine mandates this week in an effort to protect their employees and visitors in the workplace:
Ford Motor will require its U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated for Covid-19 before any international business travel, the company said on Wednesday, while all other employees are “encouraged” to get vaccinated. The company also pushed its return-to-office date to January.
Deloitte said on Tuesday employees in its U.S. facilities have until Oct. 11 to receive the vaccine against Covid-19, seven weeks after the full approval of the vaccine by the F.D.A.
Goldman Sachs told employees on Tuesday that it would require anyone who entered the bank’s U.S. offices, including clients, to be fully vaccinated starting on Sept. 7. Unvaccinated employees must work from home, and fully vaccinated employees must undergo weekly coronavirus testing.
On Monday, Chevron said it was mandating vaccines for expats and employees who travel internationally, as well as for the offshore work force in the Gulf of Mexico and for some onshore support personnel.
CVS Health said on Monday that its pharmacists have until Nov. 30 to be fully vaccinated, while others who interact with patients, and all corporate staff, have until Oct. 31.
Any company is within its legal rights to require employees get vaccinated, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.