Citigroup Inc. employees in the United States (US) who have not yet received the Covid-19 vaccine injection by January 14 2022 will be given unpaid leave and terminated at the end of the month unless they are granted an exemption. This is according to a memo issued by the company and as reported by Reuters on Friday (Jan 7). The U.S. bank announced its plans to enforce the new vaccination rules in October and is now the first major Wall Street institution to proceed with a strict vaccine mandate.
The move was taken as the financial industry struggles with a safe way to recall their employees back to the office and run the business as usual during the period, in which the highly contagious variant of Omicron is spreading so fast. Other major Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs & Co, Morgan Stanley and even JPMorgan Chase & Co, instructed some unvaccinated employees to work from home. So far, however, no one has fired staff.
While Citigroup was the first Wall Street bank to enforce a vaccine mandate, several major U.S. companies have already introduced “no vaccine injections, no jobs” policies, including Google and United Airlines. Yet the extent to which strict measures are taken varies from one company to another. More than 90 per cent of Citigroup employees have already complied with the mandate so far and the figure is rising rapidly, according to sources close to the matter, adding that the duration of the vaccine mandate enforced varies for branch staff.
When Citigroup announced the policy, the bank also stated it would assess exemptions based on religion or medicine or adjustments in accordance with provincial or county law, following their respective cases. The bank also said it was adhering to President Joe Biden’s administration’s policy of requiring all employees under government contracts to be fully vaccinated because the government is a “big and also important” customer.