Intel employees without a COVID-19 vaccine will be put on unpaid leave
Intel has begun warning employees that they have to get a COVID-19 vaccine before January 4th in order to keep working at the company. As reported by The Oregonian, Intel workers who refuse to get vaccinated without getting an exemption will be on unpaid leave starting in April.
The measure comes as a result of federal vaccine mandates for federal contractors, specifically referring to Executive Order 14042. The order requires all contractors of the United States government to be vaccinated by January 18th, unless they’re granted a medical or religious exemption. However, it should be noted that Executive Order 14042 is currently blocked by an injunction by the State of Georgia. The government has appealed the decision so it’s not yet known whether the mandate will go through or not.
In a statement, Intel said that it’s monitoring the legal situation in regards to the COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but that it will likely take time for the cases to be fully resolved. Despite that, Intel is sticking to its January 4th deadline for employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the company said it will continue to evaluate its options in the first quarter of 2022.
For employees that get an exemption, whether it’s for medical or religious reasons, they’ll have to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis, according to Intel CPO Christy Pambianchi. That rule applies to employees in the company’s offices as well as those still working remotely.
Exemption requests for the COVID-19 vaccine will be reviewed by Intel until March 15, and those who aren’t granted an exemption will be on unpaid leave for at least three months. However, they won’t be terminated. Intel will also continue providing healthcare benefits to unvaccinated employees while they’re on leave.
It’s likely that many other companies in the tech world and beyond will have to enact similar rules, even if it’s a preemptive measure while federal vaccine mandates are in legal limbo. Some companies, such as Boeing, had set out similar plans, but put them on hold until a final legal decision is made.