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Southwest Air Ends Plan to Put Unvaccinated Staff on Unpaid Leave

Southwest Air nixed a plan to put unvaccinated workers on unpaid leave if by a Dec. 8 deadline they don't have religious or medical exemptions.

Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Southwest Airlines Co. Report has nixed a plan to place unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave if they haven’t garnered religious or medical exemption by December.

“If an accommodation has not been reviewed or approved by Dec. 8, the employee will continue to work, while following all Covid mask and distancing guidelines applicable to their position, until the accommodation has been processed,” Southwest said in a statement to NewsNation.

“While we intend to grant all valid requests for medical and/or religious accommodations, in the event a request is not granted, the company will provide adequate time for an employee to become fully vaccinated while continuing to work and adhering to safety protocols.”

The report originally came from CNBC.

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Southwest and other airlines are subject to White House rules that employees of federal contractors be vaccinated against Covid by Dec. 8, unless they obtain exemptions for medical or religious reasons.

Shares of the Dallas carrier on Tuesday closed at $49.38, down 0.8%. They have dropped 21% in the past six months amid valuation concern. They have firmed 0.9% in the past month.

Morningstar analyst Burkett Huey puts fair value for Southwest Air shares at $65.

“Southwest is the best-positioned U.S. airline as it is primarily exposed to the domestic leisure travel market,” he wrote in a commentary after the company’s second-quarter earnings report in July.

“We believe domestic leisure travel is the most likely form of air travel to be entirely unaffected by the pandemic over the long run.”