Unvaccinated People Will Be Fired From Here by Jan. 31
More companies are doubling down on vaccine policies as Omicron spreads.
The U.S. has just entered its third year of the pandemic and the numbers are not exactly promising. In just the past week, new infections have increased by more than 85 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The latest surge has been spurred by the Omicron variant, which was first detected in late November. While the last concerning variant, Delta, had prompted health officials and businesses to implement vaccine mandates, the new variant of the virus has many doubling down on strict vaccine policies as COVID continues to spread in 2022.
RELATED: Unvaccinated People Will Be Barred From Doing This, Starting Jan. 13.
Citigroup initially announced a vaccine mandate for all U.S. employees in late October. But now, the bank has set a concrete deadline for termination. Office workers who are not vaccinated by Jan. 14 will be placed on unpaid leave and then fired by Jan. 31, according to an internal memo sent to employees and seen by Bloomberg.
"You are welcome to apply for other roles at Citi in the future as long as you are compliant with Citi's vaccination policy," the memo stated. A spokeswoman for Citigroup confirmed to Bloomberg that more than 90 percent of the company's employees have already complied with the vaccine requirement.
When first announcing this mandate, Citigroup became the first major Wall Street bank to make the COVID vaccine a condition of employment, according to Bloomberg. Now, it still has one of the strictest policies among big financial companies. Other firms such as Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan have issued some vaccine requirements, but both of their policies allow employees to avoid getting vaccinated as long as they don't come into offices.
"Our medical teams have consulted with top experts at some of the most prestigious medical institutions in the country, and are confident about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines available to us," Sara Wechter, head of Citigroup's human resources, said in an Oct. 2020 memo when first announcing the mandate. "They have advised us that a fully-vaccinated workplace is one of the most important things we can do to keep colleagues healthy when they are on-site."
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Citigroup isn't the only company that has recently fired or indicated that it will fire workers who have not gotten the COVID shot. On Jan. 5, the Mayo Clinic fired around 700 employees who had failed to comply with the center's vaccine mandate, which had hit its deadline on Jan. 3, NBC News reported.
"While Mayo Clinic is saddened to lose valuable employees, we need to take all steps necessary to keep our patients, workforce, visitors and communities safe," the clinic said. "If individuals released from employment choose to get vaccinated at a later date, the opportunity exists for them to apply and return to Mayo Clinic for future job openings."
And last month, Google told employees in internal documents that they will face unpaid leave and eventual termination if they don't comply with the company's vaccine mandate, as reported by CNBC. According to the documents, workers who are still unvaccinated by Google's Jan. 18 deadline will be placed on "paid administrative leave" for 30 days. After that, Google will allow them to be put on "unpaid personal leave" for up to six months before firing them.
"Our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running," a Google spokesperson told CNBC in a statement, adding that the company stands "behind [their] vaccination policy."
RELATED: If You Don't Have a Booster, You'll Be Barred From This, as of Jan. 17.