Apple to Require COVID Testing for Employees Starting Next Month, Still No Vaccine Mandate

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Starting next month, Apple is ramping up COVID-19 testing requirements for employees. According to The Verge‘s Zoe Schiffer, unvaccinated employees will be required to get frequent COVID-19 tests, while vaccinated employees will receive infrequent tests if going into an office or store.

Unlike other tech companies, such as Google and Facebook, Apple has not mandated vaccines for its employees and still does not require workers to get vaccinated to remain at Apple. Prior to the upcoming testing mandate, testing was encouraged, but not required.

Apple earlier this month began asking employees to provide details on their vaccination status, and it has been pushing vaccines through an internal vaccination campaign.

Apple offers vouchers to get employees vaccinated through Walgreens along with on-site vaccinations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Austin. Paid time off is available for vaccine appointments, as is paid sick leave for those who experience side effects.

Many corporate employees are still working from home at this point and will not be returning to the office until January at the earliest, but Apple also has a large retail workforce.

The details on Apple’s testing plans came from today’s company-wide town hall meeting, where Cook also spoke on plans for a hybrid work model going forward. “We learned as a company what it means for everyone to come in everyday because we did that before,” he said. “We know what it’s like when hardly anyone comes in. We don’t really know about the middle range. We need to learn.”

Cook said that Apple is committed to learning and tweaking its plans going forward, and he said that Apple plans to give everyone an extra three days off next quarter. In the U.S., employees will receive this time off on Thanksgiving week.

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