Meta offers deferral program for employees unready to return to office


FILE PHOTO: A smartphone with Meta logo and a 3D printed Facebook logo is placed on a laptop keyboard in this illustration taken October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/

(Reuters) - Meta Platforms Inc said on Tuesday it will fully reopen its U.S. offices on Jan. 31 next year while giving its employees an opportunity to delay their scheduled return by three to five months.

The social media giant's new "office deferral program" will ensure that its employees have flexibility in returning back to offices, Meta said.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook Inc, said it will also stick to its earlier plans that employees who can work remotely can request for full-time remote work.

"We recognize that some employees aren't quite ready to come back. We continue to offer a variety of options to choose what works best for them, so our employees can make informed decisions about where they work," said Janelle Gale, vice president, human resources of the company.

Meta's decision comes at a time when many companies in the United States are pushing back their office return date due to concerns over the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Alphabet Inc's Google last week indefinitely delayed its January return-to-office plan globally amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant and some resistance to company-mandated vaccinations.

In its statement, Meta said it was "closely monitoring" the situation around the Omicron variant. The company currently requires all its U.S. employees coming to office to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

(Reporting by Shivani Tanna and Akriti Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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