West News Wire: According to leaked internal documents, Google told its employees they would lose pay and eventually be fired if they disobeyed the company’s COVID-19 vaccine policy.

Employees had until December 3 to declare their vaccination status and upload proof of vaccination, or apply for a medical or religious exemption, according to a memo seen by CNBC from Google’s leadership.

After that date, Google said it would begin contacting employees who had not uploaded their status, were unvaccinated, or whose exemption requests had been denied.

According to CNBC, employees who do not comply with the vaccination rules by January 18 will be placed on “paid administrative leave” for 30 days, followed by “unpaid personal leave” for up to six months, after which “their employment with Google will end.”

A Google spokesperson said in a statement that, “our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running.”

Without commenting on the CNBC report, Google told Reuters: “We’re committed to doing everything possible to help our employees who can get vaccinated do so, and firmly stand behind our vaccination policy.”

In August, Google said it expected staff to return to the office for about three days a week from January 30. However, earlier this month it delayed its return-to-office plan indefinitely amid the surge of the Omicron variant.

“We expect that almost all roles at Google in the US will fall within the scope of the executive order,” Google’s memo said.

“Anyone entering a Google building must be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation that allows them to work or come onsite,” the company said.

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In November, the Biden administration ordered American companies with more than 100 workers to ensure employees were vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis by January 18.

 

But the Google memo said, “frequent testing is not a valid alternative to vaccination”.

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