Amtrak will require employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19

Aug. 12, 2021
Current employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, while all new hires as of Oct. 4 must be fully vaccinated on their first day of employment.

Amtrak will require new hires and current employees to show proof they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Starting Oct. 4, 2021, new hires will need to be vaccinated before their first day and existing employees have until Nov. 1, 2021, to be fully vaccinated. Employees who do not provide documentation proving their vaccination status will be required to take a weekly COVID-19 test. Amtrak is allowing employees with a valid medical reason for why they can not be vaccinated or tested to request a reasonable accommodation.

Similar mandates have been adopted by New Orleans Regional Transit Authority and the state of New York for Metropolitan Transportation Authority employees, as well as Port Authority of New York and New Jersey employees serving in New York.

In an employee advisory outlining the vaccine requirement, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn wrote, “Many employees have shared reasons why they are apprehensive about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. We understand these concerns and encourage everyone to consult with a medical professional and seek out facts from reputable sources.”

Additionally, the railroad is restoring pay protection for fully vaccinated employees. The protection is retroactive to Aug. 1, 2021, and impacts fully vaccinated employees who need to quarantine following a positive test. Amtrak noted unvaccinated employees who are in close contact will still need to quarantine but will not be pay protected.

While Amtrak offices are open for business, face masks are required in all facilities regardless of vaccination status and, citing the rise in the Delta variant, return to worksites has been extended to Nov. 1.

“We did not come to these decisions lightly, and we understand it may take some time to process, which is why we are providing you with time to prepare,” Flynn wrote in the employee advisory. “While we recognize this is a personal decision for each of us, we are confident it is in the long-term best interest for our colleagues, our customers and our company.”

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.