AmEx Requires Vaccine for Employees Returning to U.S. Offices
(Bloomberg) -- American Express Co. will require all employees to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before they can work from its U.S. offices.
The requirement will also apply to in-person events sponsored by the company both on and off-site, Chief Executive Officer Steve Squeri said in a memo to staff. The New York-based card giant had more than 22,000 U.S. employees at year-end.
“Our U.S. vaccine requirement will not only provide added protection to help keep everyone in our offices healthy, it will also enable colleagues to feel more comfortable when we fully return to the office, a key point that colleagues expressed in the surveys we’ve conducted,” Squeri said in the memo.
Major employers across the U.S. have been grappling with vaccine mandates after President Joe Biden issued an executive order for companies with 100 employees or more to require the shot or get a weekly test. Biden also ordered all individuals supporting government contracts, as well as anyone who works in the same offices as those employees, to be fully vaccinated.
While AmEx is among the first major financial firms to introduce a broader vaccine requirement for its U.S. workforce, it didn’t go as far as rival Citigroup Inc., which has announced that it will make getting the jab a condition of employment.
“As we have often said, getting the vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and combat the spread of this disease,” Squeri said in the note. “We encourage colleagues who are not vaccinated to become fully vaccinated.”
AmEx isn’t planning a broad return to its offices until Jan. 24. Even then, the firm has said the large majority of its staffers will split their time between an office and remote work.
The large majority of AmEx’s U.S. employees have previously told the company they’re fully vaccinated, Squeri said in the memo. Those staffers with medical conditions or religious beliefs that prevent them from getting the shot can request to work remotely full-time.
While employees with such arrangements won’t have to be vaccinated, a small number of workers who support certain contracts with the federal government will be required to be vaccinated even if they’re working from home.
With the new requirement, Squeri said the company isn’t expecting to introduce a mandatory coronavirus testing program for U.S. workers. It is planning to relax masking requirements in its U.S. offices in the coming days.
“The wearing of facial coverings will be optional in American Express-only spaces,” Squeri said. “Masks and social distancing measures will still be required for AmEx colleagues in common spaces shared with other tenants in our buildings, or where required by law.”
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