Google 130,000 staff must be vaccinated to be back at offices

SAN FRANCISCO, 29 July 2021:

Huge US Internet giant Google yesterday informed its more than 130,000 employees all around the world that they must get vaccinated against Covid-19 to be allowed to return to the firm’s offices in October.

In an entry in the corporate blog, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said that implementation of this requirement “will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until (Covid-19) vaccines are widely available in your area.”

Pichai also postponed the date for the obligatory return to Google’s offices, which had been set for September but which now will be Oct 18, due to the increase in delta variant coronavirus cases around the world.

“This extension will allow us time to ramp back into work while providing flexibility for those who need it.”

Although several governments and public US entities have already announced demands for their employees to get immunised against Covid-19 before they can return to work, Google is the first large tech firm to do so.

In early July, some of the firm’s thousands of workers in the US returned to their workplaces for the first time since the start of the pandemic last year – a return that was voluntary and which is serving as a test situation with an eye toward the fall.

The Internet firm had already announced in early May that, once the pandemic is over, 80% of those on its payroll will have to physically return to their worksites, while the remaining 20% will be able to telecommute on a permanent basis.

Those who must return to the office will have to do so only for a few days each week, while on the other days they will be able to choose where they will work from – and that could be their homes.

Google was one of the first large Silicon Valley firms to close its offices and promote telecommuting at the start of last year.

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to remote working that in recent years had already begun to catch hold in the tech sector.