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From Amex to Walmart, here are the companies mandating the Covid vaccine for employees

From Amex to Walmart, here are the companies mandating the Covid vaccine for employees

As the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus struck communities nationwide in summer and fall of 2021, many companies stepped up their vaccine requirements, mandating that some or all employees get vaccinated or provide proof of vaccination, many doing so even before President Joe Biden announced the government’s own mandates for American workers.

The Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal contractors is currently on hold, while another for certain health care workers remains in place. The government’s mandate for large businesses with 100 or more employees was blocked by the Supreme Court in early January and formally withdrawn by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Jan. 25.

Here is the latest on the list of the companies who have already announced their vaccination plans: 

American Express

Starting Nov. 18, 2021, the credit card giant began requiring employees, contractors and visitors to be fully vaccinated in order to work in or visit its U.S. offices and “participate in in-person company-sponsored events,” CEO Steve Squeri said in an internal memo sent out to employees on Nov. 15. The executive also told employees that “unvaccinated U.S. colleagues and those who do not provide proof of vaccination can request a virtual work arrangement if they can do their jobs effectively from home.” 

Citing the recent rapid spread of the omicron variant, the company delayed its greater hybrid office return set for Jan. 24 until it feels “comfortable bringing a large number of colleagues back together in the office,” according to a memo sent out to all U.S.-based employees on Jan. 4.  

Amtrak

The railroad service is requiring employees to receive their vaccination or submit to weekly Covid testing, suspending a blanket mandate that was previously planned to go into effect on Jan. 4. In an internal memo shared with employees in December, Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn said a federal court’s halt of the government’s federal contractor vaccine mandate “caused the company to reevaluate” its “policy and to address the uncertainty about the federal requirements that apply to Amtrak.” Flynn also said that at the time, nearly 96 percent of employees were either fully vaccinated or received an accommodation. 

Anthem

Employees must be fully vaccinated to enter offices that are open, including the health care insurance company’s headquarters in Indianapolis and its office in Atlanta, according to Anthem spokesperson Michelle Vanstory.

BlackRock

Since July 1, only vaccinated employees and visitors to the investment giant have been allowed to return to the office, according to a company memo obtained by NBC News. All U.S.-based employees, regardless of any plans to voluntarily return, were required to report their vaccination status by June 30, 2021.  

Since November last year, employees have been in the office for an average of three days per week, the company told NBC News in an emailed statement on Jan. 6, but have recently been given the flexibility to work from wherever through Jan. 28 in light of the omicron variant. 

Carhartt

The heavy-duty apparel manufacturer said it is upholding its vaccination mandate for all employees, including retail, manufacturing and distribution workers, that went into effect on Jan. 4 despite the recent SCOTUS ruling that ruled out the federal mandate for large private employers.

“We put workplace safety at the very top of our priority list and the Supreme Court’s recent ruling doesn’t impact that core value,” CEO Mark Valade said in part in an email to employees on Jan. 14. “ While we appreciate that there may be differing views, workplace safety is an area where we and the union that represents our associates cannot compromise. An unvaccinated workforce is both a people and business risk that our company is unwilling to take.”

Cisco

The tech and telecoms conglomerate is only allowing vaccinated “critical workers” to come in to the office, and is pursuing a fully hybrid approach. “Whether that means you work five days a week at home and gather with your team for activities and connection every once in a while, or you are in the office five days a week … every Cisco employee will be hybrid,” Francine Katsoudas, executive vice president and chief people, policy and purpose officer, wrote in a July 2021 memo to employees.

Citigroup

The banking giant announced in August that employees would need to get vaccinated before returning to its offices, according to a LinkedIn post from Sara Wechter, the bank’s head of human resources. In a LinkedIn post earlier this month, Wechter said that the company reached 99 percent compliance, just one day before its deadline.  

“This level of compliance helps us create a safer workplace, protect your families and our communities, and ensure continuity of our business operations,” Wechter wrote. 

Columbia Sportswear 

Corporate headquarters employees have until Feb. 1 to get vaccinated or seek accommodation, according to spokesperson Mary Ellen Glynn. Those who do not comply “will be placed on unpaid leave and termination processes will begin.” There is no blanket mandate in place for Columbia’s retail associates or warehouse workers, Glynn confirmed.  

CVS Health

Last August, CVS said it would require patient-facing and corporate employees to get their shot by Oct. 31, new hires by Sept. 15 and pharmacists in retail stores by Nov. 30. At the end of 2021, it expanded its vaccine mandate to all employees, including retail associates, CVS Health spokesperson Erin Britt told NBC News in a January email. Newly mandated employees have until March 31, 2022 to be fully vaccinated, she said.

The recent SCOTUS ruling does not change CVS Health’s vaccination policy, Britt said on Jan. 14.

The company’s Jan. 10 office return has been postponed.

Deloitte

The professional services firm required employees entering its facilities to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 11 last year. Deloitte spokesperson Jonathan Gandel told NBC News Jan. 14 that this requirement remains in place despite the Supreme Court blocking the federal government’s vaccine mandate for businesses with 100 or more employees on Jan. 13. 

Delta Air Lines

The airline announced last May that it would be requiring all new U.S. hires to be vaccinated against the coronavirus, effective May 17. “This is an important move to protect Delta’s people and customers, ensuring the airline can safely operate as demand returns and as it accelerates through recovery and into the future,” the company wrote, adding that it would not be “putting in place a company-wide mandate to require current employees to be vaccinated.”  

Those who are unvaccinated must partake in weekly Covid testing, CEO Ed Bastian announced to staffers in August 2021. He also said that beginning Nov. 1, those who have not received their shot and are enrolled in the company’s healthcare plan will incur an extra $200 monthly insurance charge. 

DoorDash

Since June 2021, only fully vaccinated employees have been allowed to voluntarily return to the office. The company said in an email on Jan. 14 its policy has not changed given the Supreme Court ruling against the federal vaccine mandate for big businesses. 

Its office return is delayed indefinitely.

Equinox

SoulCycle-owner and luxury fitness company Equinox announced in August last year that it would begin requiring members, riders and employees to provide a one-time proof of vaccination to enter its facilities and offices, starting in New York City in September. “We have a responsibility to take bold action and respond to changing circumstances with urgency. We encourage other leading brands to join us in this effort to best protect our communities,” Equinox Group Executive Chairman Harvey Spevak wrote in a press release.

Ford

Automaker Ford required most U.S. salaried employees to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Dec. 8, 2021.  

Ford told NBC News in a January emailed statement that it is “reviewing” the recent SCOTUS ruling to determine whether any changes need to be made to its current vaccination policy. It also said 88 percent of its U.S. salaried employees are already vaccinated. 

Goldman Sachs

Since Sept. 7, the investment bank has been requiring all individuals who enter its offices, including clients and visitors, to be fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. According to Bloomberg, eligible employees entering Goldman Sachs facilities must be boosted by Feb. 1.  

Google

On July 28 last year, Google became the first major tech company to announce a vaccine mandate for its employees looking to return to the office. “Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated. We’re rolling this policy out in the U.S. in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a July memo. On Jan. 14, the tech giant told NBC News in an emailed statement that the company is no longer requiring vaccination as a condition of employment. 

Google recently paused the launch of its broader return to the office and hybrid work-week model previously slated for Jan. 10. The company said in part in an email to NBC News on Jan. 5 it will determine its new return date “based on local conditions.” 

Jefferies

Financial giant Jefferies will only allow vaccinated individuals into its offices and to outside company events, according to a July 2021 memo from CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman. “We require that, after Labor Day, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should continue to work from home, which fortunately has proven to be highly effective. We will closely monitor the situation and be ready to pivot and adapt whenever needed,” the two leaders wrote in their joint letter. 

Handler and Friedman told employees in a December memo that over 95 percent of the global firm’s population is vaccinated and that boosters would “soon be a requirement” of the company’s “JefVaxPass strategy.” Most employees are already back in the office about three days a week, the executives said. 

Lyft

Since Aug. 2 last year, corporate employees have been required to show proof of vaccination in order to enter offices, according to an internal note obtained by NBC News. “For those who choose to continue working from our offices — which will remain open — our current safety guidance remains in place, including our existing mask requirement and vaccine requirement going into effect August 2,” said CEO and co-founder Logan Green.  

Nothing has changed in light of the Jan. 13 Supreme Court ruling that blocked President Joe Biden’s federal mandate for large private businesses. 

“Our policy was in place before the federal mandate was announced, and there will be no changes to our policies for corporate employees,” Lyft spokesperson Ashley Adams wrote in an email to NBC News on Jan. 14.

McDonald’s

The fast food chain required all U.S.-based office workers and visitors to be vaccinated as of Sept. 27, according to an internal note obtained by NBC News. The requirement does not apply to those who work in McDonald’s restaurants.

Meta  

The social media giant formerly known as Facebook said Jan. 10 that it would be requiring proof of a booster shot for eligible U.S. office workers, starting on March 28, 2022. It first announced a standard Covid vaccine mandate in July 2021. 

March 28 is also when workers are expected back in the office. The new date, delayed from Jan. 31, applies to those who do not request full-time remote work or temporarily pause their return via the company’s “Office Deferral Program,” which gives an extra 3 to 5 months to employees who may need more time. 

“We understand that the continued uncertainty makes this a difficult time to make decisions about where to work, so we’re giving more time to choose what works best for them,” Meta Vice President Human Resources Janelle Gale said in an emailed statement to NBC News on Jan. 10.    

On Jan. 14, Meta said that its vaccination policy remains unchanged in light of the Jan. 13 Supreme Court decision.

MGM Resorts International

Hospitality chain MGM Resorts International is calling for its salaried workers and all new hires to be fully vaccinated against Covid, even if they are working from home, according to company spokesperson Brian Ahern. Unvaccinated hourly employees must provide proof of a negative Covid test every week. In January, Ahern said these policies still stand despite the Supreme Court’s decision to block the federal government’s vaccine mandate for big businesses. 

Microsoft

The tech company announced Aug. 3 it would require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors and guests, starting in September 2021. The company did not say in its emailed statement whether the vaccination policy includes employees who have voluntarily been going into the office since last spring or those working at its retail stores. In a Sept. 9, 2021 update, the company said it had suspended its office return indefinitely, given the uncertainty of Covid, according to a blog post written by corporate vice president Jared Spataro. Employees were previously set to return on Oct. 4, 2021. 

Morgan Stanley

In August 2021, the company announced it would require U.S.-based employees to provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 1, according to Reuters. 

NBCUniversal

NBCUniversal is requiring U.S.-based workers returning to the office to be fully vaccinated, executive vice president Adam Miller told employees in an email on Aug. 11. Employees will also be required to provide details about their vaccination status.

The company’s Jan. 18 office return has been halted.  

“We do not plan to embark on our larger return in January and the pause will remain in place until we begin to see significant declines in the spread of the virus,” NBCUniversal Chairman Cesar Conde told employees in an internal memo on Jan. 4.

Netflix

The streaming service requires vaccinations for casts of all U.S. productions, as well as the individuals who work with them on set, the company confirmed to NBC News.

The New York Times

The New York Times Company CEO Meredith Kopit Levien told staff members via email that it will be requiring proof of vaccination for those who want to go into the office voluntarily. The company is eyeing the first quarter of this year for its full office return, according to a tweet from New York Times media reporter Katie Robertson on Sept. 22, 2021. The return was previously pushed back indefinitely from Sept. 7. 

Saks

The fashion company said it is asking employees to get the vaccine before returning to the office. “If we’re asking people to come back, we have to make the environment as safe as we possibly can,” CEO Marc Metrick told The New York Times in May.

Salesforce

The customer-service software giant has only allowed vaccinated employees back to its offices as of May 2021.

TJX

The parent company of off-price retailers like HomeGoods, Marshalls and T.J. Maxx required its U.S. “Home and Regional Office Associates” to be fully vaccinated by Nov. 1, 2021. 

For those same employees who were vaccinated before June 1, 2021, a booster is required by Feb. 1, spokesperson Andrew Mastrangelo said in a January email. Employees who were fully vaccinated after June 1 with a two-dose vaccine have up to eight months to get their booster, while those with a one-dose vaccine have four months. “Accommodations can be requested by those who cannot be vaccinated due to qualified medical or religious reasons,” Mastrangelo added. 

Although these requirements do not apply to the company’s retail and distribution center associates, Mastrangelo told NBC News that TJX is “currently reviewing” what the recent Supreme Court ruling around large private businesses means for them. 

Twitter

The social media giant requires employees to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before voluntarily returning to the company’s San Francisco and New York offices. In May 2020, Twitter said employees could work from home for as long as they want.

Tyson Foods

The meat and poultry producer announced on Aug. 3 that it would require its corporate workforce to be vaccinated by Oct. 1 and all other employees by Nov. 1, making it the largest U.S. food company to implement this kind of mandate. CEO Donnie King told employees that the company will also provide $200 to frontline team members who get the shot.

Uber

In an internal note obtained by NBC News, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees that starting Aug. 2, 2021, they would be required to be fully vaccinated in order to return to the office. “If you are not vaccinated, you’ll need to work from home until you are fully vaccinated,” he wrote.

Union Square Hospitality Group

Union Square Hospitality Group, which operates restaurants in New York City and Washington, D.C., will require vaccinations for staff members and guests. “Beginning the day after Labor Day, we are going to require that 100 percent of our staff members be vaccinated and that any guest who wants to dine indoors will be vaccinated as well,” founder and CEO Danny Meyer told NBC News.

United Airlines

The air carrier required all U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated — and provide proof of their vaccination — either five weeks after federal approval or by Oct. 25, 2021, whichever came first, the company first announced in a note to employees on Aug. 6. United previously only required the shot for new hires and became the first major U.S. airline to implement a blanket policy for all employees. United CEO Scott Kirby previously said in January 2021 that he wanted to make Covid vaccines mandatory for employees. 

ViacomCBS

CEO Bob Bakish told employees that the media conglomerate is requiring all U.S.-based employees working onsite during its “Yellow Phase” to be fully vaccinated, adding that it is still assessing whether this mandate will continue into the “Green Phase,” which is when most staff will be back in the office.

Walgreens

The pharmacy giant is requiring workers in its support and corporate offices to be fully vaccinated, according to company spokesperson Fraser Engerman. Those who receive a religious or medical exemption will have to undergo Covid testing.

In mid-September last year, Walgreens put its previously set vaccination deadline of Sept. 30 on pause, Engerman said.

Walmart

Walmart corporate associates and new hires were required to get their shot by Oct. 4, 2021, President and CEO Doug McMillon told employees in an internal memo in July 2021. “As we all know, the pandemic is not over, and the Delta variant has led to an increase in infection rates across much of the U.S.,” he wrote. “Given this, we have made the decision to require all market, regional and divisional associates who work in multiple facilities and all campus office associates to be vaccinated by Oct. 4, unless they have an approved exception. This includes all new hires.”

More than 90 percent of Walmart’s campus office workers are fully vaccinated, Chief People Officer Donna Morris said Dec. 1.

The Walt Disney Company

Disney is requiring all of its new, salaried and non-union hourly employees to get vaccinated before heading to work. “Employees who aren’t already vaccinated and are working on-site will have 60 days from today to complete their protocols, and any employees still working from home will need to provide verification of vaccination prior to their return, with certain limited exceptions,” the company said in part in an emailed statement on July 30. “Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees.”

The Washington Post

Post employees, including new hires, must demonstrate proof of vaccination and must also receive their booster shot, according to spokesperson Shani George. Earlier, CEO Fred Ryan wrote in a memo advising staff that they must be vaccinated: “Considering the serious health issues and genuine safety concerns of so many Post employees, I believe the plan is the right one.” The publication delayed its office return until March 15. 

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