Ford delays return to offices, may mandate vaccine

Ford already requires vaccinations for its employees who travel internationally.

Ford Motor Co. says it is delaying its employees' return to the office until at least January, and the auto maker won't rule out the possibility of requiring more workers to get the coronavirus vaccine.

"While we continue to prepare our non-site-dependent team members to transition to a hybrid work model, the state of the COVID-19 virus remains very fluid and therefore we are adjusting the start of our hybrid work arrangement to no earlier than January 2022," the company said in a statement. "In the interim, we will continue monitoring the virus and as conditions improve, explore opportunities for team members to return on-site for collaboration and teamwork."

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EMPLOYEES EYE RETURN TO WORK; HEALTH, CAREER PROMOTIONS AMONG TOP CONCERNS

Kiersten Robinson, Ford's chief people and employee experience officer, told Reuters the company is still considering whether to issue a vaccine requirement for employees. The firm already requires its employees who travel internationally to get the jab, but expanding the requirement to other workers is still up in the air.

"We want to understand the sentiment of employees," Robinson told the news outlet. "What's standing [in] the way of them getting vaccinated voluntarily." After noting that workers' views and access to vaccines vary around the world, she added, "It's simplistic to have a one-sized fits all mandate."

The company also announced it will be "offering non-site-dependent employees the option to work remotely for up [to] 30 days per year from any location they choose within their country of employment" under its hybrid work model.

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Ford joins Amazon and Apple in pushing back its office return until January amid rising coronavirus cases following the emergence of the Delta variant. A host of other firms, including Google and McDonald's, have delayed their office returns until October.