Alphabet’s Google reportedly told its employees they will lose pay and eventually be fired if they flout the company’s COVID-19 vaccine policy, according to leaked internal documents.
A memo circulated by Google’s leadership that was seen by CNBC said employees had until December 3 to declare their vaccination status and upload documentation showing proof or to apply for a medical or religious exemption.
Google said after that date, it would start contacting employees who had not uploaded their status or were unvaccinated and those whose exemption requests were not approved.
The document continued that employees who had not complied with the vaccination rules by January 18 will be placed on “paid administrative leave” for 30 days, CNBC reported, adding, this would be followed by “unpaid personal leave” for up to six months and then “their employment with Google will end”.
A Google spokesperson said in a statement that, “our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running.”
Without commenting on the CNBC report, Google told Reuters: “We’re committed to doing everything possible to help our employees who can get vaccinated do so, and firmly stand behind our vaccination policy.”
In August, Google said it expected staff to return to the office for about three days a week from January 30. However, earlier this month it delayed its return-to-office plan indefinitely amid the surge of the Omicron variant.
“We expect that almost all roles at Google in the US will fall within the scope of the executive order,” Google’s memo said.
“Anyone entering a Google building must be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation that allows them to work or come onsite,” the company said.
In November, the Biden administration ordered American companies with more than 100 workers to ensure employees were vaccinated or tested for COVID-19 on a regular basis by January 18.
But the Google memo said, “frequent testing is not a valid alternative to vaccination”.