Citigroup warned workers who have yet to comply with a companywide vaccine mandate that they will be fired by the end of the month if they fail to get a shot by January 14.
On Friday, the bank sent workers a memo reminding them that the end of next week is the deadline to submit proof of vaccination, reiterating the deadline first established in October.
Currently, nearly 95 percent of the bank’s 65,000 US employees are vaccinated, leaving roughly 3,250 workers in jeopardy of losing their jobs.
The memo, which comes as COVID cases continue to surge nationwide, warned that any U.S staffers who ignore the deadline will be placed on unpaid leave and terminated on January 31.
In March of last year, Citigroup told employees that because the investment banking company is a government contractor, employees would have to comply with President Joe Biden’s executive order on vaccines, CNBC.com reported.
The bank, led by CEO Jane Fraser, also said that enforcement of the mandate would protect employees who return to office work.
Citigroup does allow religious and medical exemptions for employees and is complying with local laws.
The memo comes after New York City Mayor Eric Adams publicly demanded Wall Street banks and other major Big Apple employers bring their workers back to the office to save the city’s small businesses.
Adams, speaking with CNN’s Brianna Keilar on Tuesday, said he was unhappy with many places like Goldmann Sachs and JP Morgan beginning 2022 with remote work after return to office dates were pushed back by the COVID Omicron variant.
‘We have to open up,’ Adams said. ‘I need my city to open. And we have to be safe, we have to double down on vaccinations and booster shots. We have to double down on testing. But we have to reshape our thinking of how do we live with Covid.’
Citigroup has had the most aggressive vaccination policy among Wall Street firms.
Major banks like JP Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, whose US offices also have vaccine mandates, have not threatened to fire unvaccinated employees.
Video: Some major companies, hospitals suspending vaccine mandates (NBC News)
Some of them have told their workers to remain remote while JPMorgan and others made it optional.
Wall Street has been pushing for workers to return to their desks as soon as possible.
Adams said it’s imperative for the firms to return in order to save surrounding businesses, many of them independently owned and staffed by low wage workers who rely on Wall Street customers and business travelers for their income.
‘We have low-skilled employees who can’t do remote employment from home, or telecommuting,’ Adams said. ‘It is time to open up, and feed our ecosystem, our financial ecosystem.’
On Friday the Supreme Court heard arguments against the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for larger private companies with more than 100 employees to move ahead.
They were hearing a case brought by Republican states and business leaders that the mandate for businesses with more than 100 employees represented federal overreach.
The courts’ liberal justices appeared to side with the Biden administration’s position that mandates and vaccines were the best way to tackle the pandemic.
But Roberts asked U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar whether the 1970 law that established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration gave it the power to introduce the mandate.
‘That was 50 years ago that you’re saying Congress acted. I don’t think it had COVID in mind.
‘That was almost closer to the Spanish flu than it is to today’s problem,’ he said in reference to the 1918 pandemic.
Benjamin Flowers, Ohio solicitor general, said the mandates had been formulated when a different, more dangerous variant – the Delta variant – was the most common as he argued against the policy.
Justice Sonia Sotamayor took issue with his characterization of the pandemic.
‘We have more affected people in the country today than we had a year ago in January,’ she said.
‘We have hospitals that are almost at full capacity with people severely ill on ventilators.
‘We have over 100,000 children which we’ve never had before, in in serious condition. And many on ventilators.’
The justices heard more than two hours of arguments over the administration’s requirement for businesses before turning to a second argument over whether to block the administration’s vaccine requirement for healthcare facilities.
A partial ruling could come in record time, as the business mandate is due to come into force on Monday.
The justices are being asked for an emergency block while the lower courts continue to hear cases.
The court heard the arguments as the nation gripped by the latest wave of infections, triggered by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
On Thursday, the US recorded 786,824 new infections, an increase from the prior day and the third highest count since the pandemic began, following only the numbers recorded on Monday and Tuesday. The seven-day rolling average of daily cases – now at 607,064 daily cases – was up 71 percent from a week ago, according to a DailyMail.com analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
Deaths remain at relatively low levels, with 1,870 new deaths on Thursday, a 9 percent increase from a week ago on a rolling-average basis. Hospitalizations rose 40 percent in the past two weeks, to nearly 100,000, but remain well below last year’s peak level, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In a round of television interviews on Friday morning, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky defended her agency’s confusing new isolation guidelines, and predicted that the US had not reached the peak of the current wave.
‘The number of cases are rising faster than the number of hospitalizations and deaths, although we’re now starting to see the number of hospitalizations rise as well,’ she told the Today Show. ‘The way it is peaked in other countries, in South Africa, it has come down as rapidly as well. But I don’t believe we’ve seen the peak yet here in the United States.’
‘We are definitely looking at a time ahead of us where COVID will be an endemic virus. We are in the middle of a surge right now so we have to do everything we can to address that surge,’ said Walensky.
Source: Thanks msn.com