Southwest Airlines offers staff referral bonuses worth $300 as carrier struggles to fill jobs

Travelers inquire about their flights at a Southwest counter at Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California.

Frederic J. Brown | AFP | Getty Images

Southwest Airlines launched this week new hiring referral bonuses for staff as the carrier struggles to rent new staff to sustain with a rebound in journey demand.

“Southwest is experiencing a sharp decline in qualified applicants due to low labor force participation and competition for available talent,” Southwest vp and chief individuals officer Julie Weber wrote in a Tuesday be aware to staff, which was reviewed by CNBC.

Southwest staff can obtain 20,000 “SWAG Points” — 10,000 on their referral’s first day of labor and 10,000 after that particular person completes six months with the airline. Those factors on Southwest’s inner platform have a taxable worth of 1.5 cents every, an organization doc says, giving the factors a worth of about $300. Southwest’s factors will be redeemed for frequent flyer miles, reward playing cards or live performance tickets.

The factors can’t be redeemed for money, Southwest mentioned. Five workers’ referrals will even be chosen every week for five,000 factors for the referring staff member, Weber wrote.

Southwest and different carriers spent a lot of the pandemic urging workers to take early retirement packages or unpaid or partially paid time without work. Now, they’re scrambling to rent or retrain staff to cater to the rebound in journey demand that materialized sooner than many airline executives anticipated.

Staffing shortages within the airline trade this summer season have led to hourslong maintain instances for customer support strains and exacerbated flight disruptions from points such as unhealthy climate. Flight crews at American Airlines and Southwest have complained about a lack of available hotels or food options whereas they’re on obligation.

In June, Southwest raised its minimal wage to $15 an hour.

Southwest did not say what number of workers it hopes to rent. The airline mentioned earlier this yr it wants extra flight attendants and pilots, although job postings additionally embrace ramp and customer support brokers amongst others. The incentive program runs by way of Nov. 20.

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