Apple encourages staff to get vaccinated, offers paid time off


A patient receives their vaccine at a vaccination site in San Antonio, Texas. Apple Inc is encouraging employees to get Covid-19 vaccines by offering paid time off for appointments and paid sick leave for those experiencing side effects, according to sources. — AFP

Apple Inc is encouraging employees to get Covid-19 vaccines by offering paid time off for appointments and paid sick leave for those experiencing side effects, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The Cupertino, California-based technology giant also told staff in recent weeks that it does not have access to vaccines and is not providing shots itself to workers, the people said. They asked not to be identified discussing private matters.

Since the pandemic began to spread last year, Apple has offered paid time off to those with Covid-19 symptoms. Many corporate employees are still working from home, but the company has gradually brought back retail staff as Apple stores across the US have reopened.

In California, where Apple has its main offices and more than 50 stores, people over the age of 16 will be eligible for vaccination on April 15, the state said last week. Many other states are also expanding vaccine eligibility.

For its corporate offices, Apple is planning to have more staff return as early as June, chief executive officer Tim Cook told employees in a town hall meeting at the end of 2020. He has been steadfast about staff eventually returning to the office, but did hint at more flexibility.

“There’s no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, but we have also learned a great deal about how we can get our work done outside of the office without sacrificing productivity or results,” he told staff last year. “When we’re on the other side of this pandemic, we will preserve everything that is great about Apple while incorporating the best of our transformations this year.”

Last week, Amazon.com Inc started on-site vaccinations for front line workers in its warehouses in Nevada, Kansas and Missouri, while some airlines and hotel chains have also begun vaccinating employees.

Apple has been offering on-site Covid-19 testing for employees returning to its offices and has also been providing mail-in testing kits for both retail and corporate workers. Apple recently added a new feature to its Maps app to help users find vaccination sites. – Bloomberg

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