Apple has not made COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for employees, but it has asked all U.S. employees to report their vaccination status, voluntarily. Bloomberg reports that the company has set a mid-September deadline for employees, working from an office and remotely, to update their vaccination status.
Like many companies, Apple too is struggling to bring its workforce back to office spaces because the rise in cases of COVID-19 Delta variant has forced Apple to push its back to work date multiple times. The September return to office plan was pushed to October and then to January in 2022.
Apple’s COVID-19 response is continuously evolving
As per the report, the company stated in a memo that its response to the pandemic is subjected to change to tackle the changing situation. The company stated in the memo that;
“As Apple’s Covid-19 response continues to evolve, our primary focus remains keeping our team members, their friends and families, and our entire community healthy.
It is possible your vaccination status may be used in an identifiable manner, along with other information about your general work environment such as your building location, if we determine or, if it is required that, this information is necessary in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment.”
Previously, Apple CEO Tim Cook told Josh Lipton from CNBC that the company is not imposing a vaccination requirement but is focusing on “when to come back.” However, without making the shots mandatory, the company is informally pushing employees to get vaccinated. The report notes:
Unlike several of its peers in technology, Apple isn’t requiring vaccines. But it’s become more aggressive in nudging employees. The company recently started a campaign to encourage staff to get shots now that U.S. Food and Drug Administration approvals have begun.
Last month, Apple ramped up its optional Covid-19 testing program, requesting that employees use it up to three times per week.
Apple told employees that it is keeping the vaccine data “confidential and secure” by aggregating the information and not informing managers of responses. Still, that situation could change in the future, the company said.
Although the Cupertino tech giant has been able to launch incredible new technology and products during the pandemic, it also faced a major issue of product leaks like the entire iPhone 12 series was leaked ahead of launch. In addition, team communication platforms like Slack have led to uncomfortable discussions on pay equity, discontent with the hybrid remote work model, and discrimination. Maybe the urgency to get employees vaccinated is to contain the aforementioned issues by having the workspace return to the pre-COVID routine.