Citigroup, the nation’s third-largest bank, said Thursday that it will require all U.S. employees to be fully vaccinated against the COVID-19 as a condition of employment.
In a post on Linkedin, Sara Wechter, Head of HR, said that the decision was influenced by two key factors. “First, as the U.S. government is a large and important client of Citi, we have an obligation to comply with the Executive Order issued by the White House mandating that individuals supporting government contracts be fully vaccinated—an order that would impact the vast majority of our U.S. colleagues.”
“Second, having a vaccinated workforce enables us to ensure the health and safety of our colleagues as we return to the office in the U.S.” Citibank, the consumer division of the group, has more than 700 branches concentrated in six metropolitan areas of the country: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Miami.
The group is offering a $200 incentive to each of its 65,000 U.S. employees when they submit proof of vaccination. The deadline is being set for Jan. 14, 2022, although the corporation is requesting workers to comply by the mandate in December.
Wechter said in the post that medical and religious allowances, along with regional considerations, will be assessed case by case. Bank of America has also offered $200 to fully vaccinated employees at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
Most of the big banks like Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase have recommended their employees get vaccinated before returning back to the workforce. Citi is the only major lender to make it a condition of employment. Morgan Stanley has made it mandatory for employees in its headquarters and large offices to be inoculated before reporting to work.
Wechter’s post had garnered more than 1,000 reactions with almost 500 comments at the time of this publication. A majority of the commentators decried the move saying the organization was infringing on employee rights, while a few others commended the company’s leadership.
“I was always proud of Citi being progressive and advanced, but that decision should be left in hands of an individual. What will now happen to 30-40% of unvaccinated employees, are we ready to let go our talent for the sake of vaccine?” said Ioulia Miasnikova, a senior project analyst at Citi.
“This is disgusting, illegal and unethical. Citi should be ashamed and embarrassed. When you say your catchy slogans like ‘we all come together to support each other’ does that include threatening to fire employees? These are still experimental vaccines that have many side effects and I know many Citi employees that have concerns along with some of them having serious side effects from the first vaccine dose,” said Sheila Williams, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Confidential.