January 27, 2022

The Queens County Citizen

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Vaccine, Teleworking: American companies tighten the screw against Omicron

Vaccine, Teleworking: American companies tighten the screw against Omicron

With the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, large US companies will have to increase their anti-Kovid arsenal and push back the timetable to return to office.

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All sectors are concerned, but actions vary in intensity.

Among the most outspoken groups, Google said in a document in early December that its employees would not be paid their wages and that they could even do so unnecessarily if they did not declare their vaccine status beyond a certain date. Internal consultation CNBC.

“We believe our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways to keep our staff safe and to continue our services,” a Google spokeswoman said.

“We are committed to doing everything in our power to help our employees who can be vaccinated. “

The search engine giant has also indefinitely postponed a return to the office of its engineers and developers, initially scheduled for January.

For its part, Meta (Facebook’s parent company) offers its employees the opportunity to choose the office that best suits their needs.

A company spokesman told AFP that Amazon, which has suggested returning its interview office workers at least 3 days a week in early 2022, may make new announcements in January. These arrangements do not cause any inconvenience to warehouse employees and drivers.

After opting for a 100-point sale in November, Apple has renewed mandatory wear at all its stores in the United States.

The Apple brand temporarily closed stores this week in Florida and Maryland, as well as in the Canadian province of Ontario.

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Wall Street should also keep pace with the increase in the number of pollution cases in New York and other financial centers in the country.

JPMorgan has restricted access to vaccinated individuals to nine buildings in Manhattan since Tuesday, requiring them not to wear a mask inside the home.

“We are taking this step because vaccination rates are very high among our employees,” the bank said in an internal note contacted by AFP.

“With rates above 90%, it seems unfair to us to force our vaccinated employees to wear masks all day at their desks. “

Non-vaccinated employees must work from home.

Despite his desire to return to normalcy, JPMorgan had to withdraw from a bank-hosted health conference in California in January, which was initially conducted face-to-face.

Under pressure and “extreme caution” from many participants who were concerned about the risks of infection, the bank passed the event in a virtual format.

Other big names in American finance, such as Citigroup or Morgan Stanley, are encouraging their employees to work from home as much as possible in the coming weeks.

In supermarkets, groups are also taking the lead in the face of increasing risk of customers wanting to fill their shelves before new sanctions are imposed.

Supermarket Chain Kroger, for example, has reportedly suspended special Kovid sick leave pay for non-vaccinated employees, according to information from several American media outlets.

Employees who have not been vaccinated will have to pay a $ 50 premium from January to be covered by the company’s health insurance.

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Joe Biden wants to impose a vaccine liability on companies with more than 100 employees, but his project is subject to a legal battle: a federal court on Friday restored the president’s measure, which was suspended by another agency.

According to a study conducted by insurance broker Willis Towers Watson in late November, 57% of American employers are already considering vaccinating or making it mandatory for their employees.

“Employers can promote vaccination and booster doses by adjusting schedules and rest days, often promoting screening tests and wearing a mask in the workplace to ensure health and safety,” said Jeff Levine-Sherz of Willis Towers Watson.

One of the main effects of Omicron is to perpetuate teleworking usage in the coming months.

As of December 8, office occupancy rates in major US cities had not reached just 40%, according to a weekly barometer conducted by security systems expert Kastle using data from 10 urban areas across the country.

It was almost 95% in March 2020 before the first regulatory measures.