Facebook-Meta office delays opening over vaccination concernstext_fields
Facebook's parent platform Meta has delayed the opening of its new office in the United States as it has joined other US corporates in strictly enforcing vaccinations amongst its employees. The crackdown on unvaccinated employees comes as the US recorded over a million new Covid-19 infections on Monday, driven by the infectious Omicron variant of the virus.
On-site work has been delayed to March 28 from January 31 according to a Reuters report on the matter. Employees working on site are required to provide proof of booster vaccination according to the memo release by Meta. Employees have until March 14 to decide whether to return to the office, request to work remotely full time or request to work from home temporarily.
Remote work is also offered for employees who cannot get the vaccine for medical or religious reasons. However Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, has warned that it will look at disciplinary action, including termination, for employees who do not take action to show proof of exemption or vaccination.
Last week, Citigroup said its U.S. staff who have not been vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 14 will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month. In December, Meta had offered an option to defer returning to office.
The Biden administration has invoked the Vaccine or Test mandate which allows the choice between providing proof of a negative test result for Covid or getting vaccinated. However the government's attempts to mandate a vaccine have been met with strict resistance from states like Iowa, which have already proclaimed vaccine mandates to be unconstitutional and in violation of civil liberties.
"They'd (the Biden administration) rather dictate health care decisions and eliminate personal choice, causing our businesses and employees to suffer and exacerbating our workforce shortage," said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Friday.
The Supreme Court on Friday heard nearly four hours of arguments over two of the Biden administration's vaccine requirements, which will have implications for some tens of millions of workers nationwide and for the president's contentious strategy to combat the virus.