From Amex to Walmart, here are the companies mandating the Covid vaccines for employees
Changes at the state and federal levels have complicated vaccination policies. These companies have made their plans clear.
As the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus struck communities nationwide last summer and fall, many companies stepped up their vaccination 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 workers in the U.S.
The Biden administration's vaccination mandate for federal contractors is 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mandate for large businesses with 100 or more employees was blocked by the Supreme Court in early January and formally withdrawn by the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration on Jan. 25.
Here is the latest on the list of the companies that have already announced their vaccination plans:
Starting Nov. 18 the credit card giant began requiring employees, contractors and visitors to be fully vaccinated 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. He 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, which had been set for Monday, until it feels “comfortable bringing a large number of colleagues back together in the office,” said a memo that was sent out to all U.S.-based employees on Jan. 4.
The railroad service is requiring employees to have been vaccinated or submit to weekly Covid testing, suspending a blanket mandate that had been planned to go into effect on Jan. 4. In an internal memo that was shared with employees last month, CEO Bill Flynn said a federal court’s halt of the government's federal contractor vaccination 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 either had been fully vaccinated or had received accommodations.
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, spokesperson Michelle Vanstory said.
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 return voluntarily, were required to report their vaccination statuses by June 30, 2021.
Since November, employees have been in the office for an average of three days per week, the company said Jan. 6 in an emailed statement, but they have recently been given the flexibility to work from wherever through Friday in light of the omicron variant.
The heavy-duty apparel manufacturer said it is upholding its vaccination mandate for all employees, including retail, manufacturing and distribution workers, which went into effect Jan. 4 despite the recent Supreme Court ruling that struck down 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."
The tech and telecoms conglomerate is allowing only vaccinated “critical workers” to go in to the office, and it 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, the executive vice president and chief people, policy and purpose officer, wrote in a memo to employees in July.
The banking giant announced in August that employees would need to get vaccinated before they return to its offices, according to a LinkedIn post from Sara Wechter, the bank’s head of human resources. In a LinkedIn post 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.
Corporate headquarters employees have until Feb. 1 to get vaccinated or seek accommodations, spokesperson Mary Ellen Glynn said. Those who do not comply “will be placed on unpaid leave and termination processes will begin.” There is no blanket mandate for Columbia’s retail associates or warehouse workers, Glynn confirmed.
CVS said in August that it would require patient-facing and corporate employees to get their shots by Oct. 31, new hires by Sept. 15 and pharmacists in retail stores by Nov. 30. At the end of 2021, it expanded its vaccination mandate to all employees, including retail associates, spokesperson Erin Britt said by email this month. Newly mandated employees have until March 31 to be fully vaccinated, she said.
The recent Supreme Court ruling does not change CVS Health’s vaccination policy, Britt said Jan. 14.
The company's Jan. 10 office return was postponed.
The professional services firm required employees entering its facilities to be fully vaccinated by last Oct. 11. Deloitte spokesperson Jonathan Gandel said Jan. 14 that the requirement remains despite the Supreme Court’s ruling .
Delta Air Lines
The airline announced in May that it would require all new U.S. hires to be vaccinated 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 take part in weekly Covid testing, CEO Ed Bastian told staffers in August. He also said that beginning Nov. 1, those who had not received their shots and were enrolled in the company’s health care plan would incur extra $200 monthly insurance charges.
Since June, only fully vaccinated employees have been allowed to voluntarily return to the office. The company said in an email Jan. 14 that its policy has not changed since the Supreme Court ruling .
Its office return is delayed indefinitely.
The luxury fitness company Equinox, which owns SoulCycle, announced in August that it would begin requiring members, riders and employees to provide 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 said in a statement.
Ford required most U.S. salaried employees to be fully vaccinated as of Dec. 8.
Ford said in an emailed statement this month that it is “reviewing” the recent Supreme Court ruling to determine whether any changes are needed in its current vaccination policy. It said 88 percent of its U.S. salaried employees had already been vaccinated.
Since Sept. 7, the investment bank has been requiring all people who enter its offices, including clients and visitors, to be fully vaccinated. Bloomberg reported that eligible employees entering Goldman Sachs facilities must have had booster shots by Feb. 1.
On July 28, Google became the first major tech company to announce a vaccination mandate for 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,” CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a memo in July. Google said in an emailed statement Jan. 14 that it is no longer requiring vaccination as a condition of employment.
Google recently paused the launch of its broader return to the office and its hybrid workweek model, which had been scheduled for Jan. 10. The company said in part in an email on Jan. 5 that it will determine its new return date “based on local conditions.”
The financial giant Jefferies will allow only vaccinated people into its offices and outside company events, CEO Rich Handler and President Brian Friedman said in a memo in July . “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,” they wrote.
Handler and Friedman told employees in a memo last month that over 95 percent of the global firm’s population had been 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.
Since Aug. 2, corporate employees have been required to show proof of vaccination 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,” CEO and co-founder Logan Green said.
Nothing has changed in light of the Jan. 13 Supreme Court ruling .
“Our policy was in place before the federal mandate was announced, and there will be no changes to our policies for corporate employees,” spokesperson Ashley Adams said in an email Jan. 14.
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 people who work in McDonald’s restaurants.
The social media giant formerly known as Facebook said Jan. 10 that it would require proof of booster shots for eligible U.S. office workers starting March 28. It first announced a standard Covid vaccination mandate in July.
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 through the company’s Office Deferral Program, which gives employees who may need more time an extra three to five months.
“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,” Janelle Gale, the vice president for human resources, said in an emailed statement 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
The hospitality chain is calling for its salaried workers and all new hires to be fully vaccinated, even if they are working from home, spokesperson Brian Ahern said. Unvaccinated hourly employees must provide proof of negative Covid tests every week. Ahern said this month that the policies still stand despite the Supreme Court decision.
The tech company announced Aug. 3 that it would require proof of vaccination for all employees, vendors and guests, starting in September. The company did not say in its emailed statement whether the vaccination policy applies to employees who have been going into the office voluntarily since last spring or to those working at its retail stores. In an update on Sept. 9, Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro said in a blog post that the company had suspended its office return indefinitely, given the uncertainty of Covid. Employees had been set to return on Oct. 4.
The company announced in August that it would require U.S.-based employees to provide proof of vaccination by Oct. 1, Reuters reported.
NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News, 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,” Chairman Cesar Conde told employees in an internal memo Jan. 4.
The streaming service requires vaccinations for the casts of all U.S. productions, as well as the people who work with them on set, the company confirmed.
The New York Times
New York Times Co. CEO Meredith Kopit Levien told staff members by email that the company will require 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, Times media reporter Katie Robertson tweeted Sept. 22. The return had been pushed back indefinitely from Sept. 7.
The fashion company said it is asking employees to get vaccinated before they return 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 .
The customer service software giant has allowed only vaccinated employees back in its offices as of May.
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.
For the same employees who were vaccinated before June 1, a booster shot is required by Feb. 1, spokesperson Andrew Mastrangelo said in an email this month. Employees who were fully vaccinated with a two-dose vaccine after June 1 have up to eight months to get their boosters, 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 said.
Although the requirements do not apply to the company’s retail and distribution center associates, Mastrangelo said TJX is “currently reviewing” what the recent Supreme Court ruling means for it.
The social media giant requires employees to be vaccinated and show proof of vaccination before they voluntarily return 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.
The meat and poultry producer announced 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 such a mandate. CEO Donnie King told employees that the company will also provide $200 to front-line team members who get the shots.
In an internal note obtained by NBC News, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told employees that starting Aug. 2, they would be required to be fully vaccinated 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., requires 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.
The air carrier required all U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated — and provide proof of their vaccinations — 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 required the shots only for new hires, and it became the first major U.S. airline to implement a blanket policy for all employees. CEO Scott Kirby said in January that he wanted to make Covid vaccinations mandatory for employees.
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 the mandate will continue into the “Green Phase,” which is when most staff members will be back in the office.
The pharmacy giant requires workers in its support and corporate offices to be fully vaccinated, spokesperson Fraser Engerman said. Those who receive religious or medical exemptions have to undergo Covid testing.
In mid-September, Walgreens put its previously set vaccination deadline of Sept. 30 on pause, Engerman said.
Walmart corporate associates and new hires were required to get their shots by last Oct. 4, President and CEO Doug McMillon told employees in an internal memo in July. “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 requires all of its new salaried and nonunion hourly employees to get vaccinated before they head to work. The company said in part in an emailed statement on July 30: “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. 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 get their booster shots, spokesperson Shani George said. Earlier, CEO Fred Ryan wrote in a memo advising staff members 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.
Haley Messenger, NBC News, January 25, 2022
January 25, 2022
Voices4America Post Script. Be safe, dear friends. Choose businesses that protect their workers and customers. #StopCovid #Vaccinate #Boos