Google employees who haven’t been vaccinated could be forced to leave and then leave the company if they don’t follow COVID-19 rules, according to an internal memo obtained by CNBC. The policy will reportedly affect workers who would fall under the jurisdiction of President Biden’s vaccine mandate, which currently faces challenges in the Senate and the legal system.
According to the memo, Google gave its employees until Dec. 3 to upload a vaccination certificate or get approval for a medical or religious waiver. The company says anyone who does neither by January 13 will receive 30 days of paid administrative leave. If they still don’t comply after the 30 days, they could be given up to six months of unpaid leave and then be terminated, according to CNBC.
Google does not deny the policy. Google spokesperson Lora Lee Erickson told: The edge:
As we mentioned before, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can protect our workforce and keep our services running. We are committed to doing everything we can to help our vaccinated employees and are fully committed to our vaccination policy.
The CNBC report points out that there may be some options for unvaccinated workers — while the company expects the president’s mandate to apply to virtually everyone, employees can seek out positions that aren’t covered, presumably outside of an office. If they find one (or already have one), they should also be able to do the work remotely. Google requires office employees to be vaccinated, reportedly saying frequent testing is not an acceptable alternative. There is also the option to apply for a waiver.
While the company has not determined when employees should return to the office after the rise of the ommicron variant, it does expect a large proportion of its staff to do at least some personal work. However, CNBC says even telecommuters should be vaccinated if they fall under the mandate.
Both wage and vaccination requirements were hot-button issues within the company — during a business on all sides, executives have raised a question about whether Google plans to raise wages to match inflation (the company said that did not intend to do so). CNBC also reported last month that a manifesto of an anti-vaccine mandate signed by hundreds of employees was shared within Google.