Friday, July 30, 2021

CNN: Goldman Sachs draws a line in the sand on employee vaccination July 2021

Goldman Sachs draws a line in the sand on employee vaccination

By Alexis Benveniste, CNN Business

Updated 8:39 PM ET, Thu July 29, 2021

New York (CNN)All eyes are on Wall Street as the Covid-19 Delta variant continues to spread and Corporate America starts rolling out vaccination policies.

And although there's talk of banks requiring employees to show proof of vaccination, 

Goldman Sachs has drawn its line in the sand. The investment bank is barring employees from using their ID cards to enter the office building if they haven't submitted proof of their vaccination status, a spokesperson for the company told CNN Business.

Goldman's plan

Goldman Sachs employees are currently required to report their vaccine status to the company, a policy that was instituted on June 10. Failure to do so comes with specific consequences.

"If you do not report your vaccine status to Goldman, your ID card will not work to enter the building," a spokesperson for the company told CNN Business. "The entrance of the building is contingent on you reporting your vaccine status," the spokesperson added.

Unvaccinated employees are required to get a rapid Covid-19 test on site at the Goldman Sachs office and will be tested regularly, the spokesperson said. Employees who test positive will immediately be asked to leave the building.

How other banks are handling the return to work

Morgan Stanley (MS)'s New York office is banning all unvaccinated staff and clients from entering its headquarters. All employees who work in buildings with a "large employee presence" were required to confirm their vaccination status by July 1, according to a memo to employees.

At Deutsche Bank (DB), there are no restrictions on employees who are vaccinated and have shared their vaccine status with the company, a spokesperson for the bank told CNN Business. Unvaccinated employees and employees who don't share their vaccination status, however, are required to answer a set of questions about any symptoms and travel, and must wear masks and get tested several times per week at the office.

Citibank employees who are vaccinated can submit their vaccine cards, and employees who are not vaccinated are required to test three times per week with an at-home rapid test. After taking the test, the employees upload their results to the test's app for their employer to see.

Bank of America (BAC) was more vague when asked for specifics on how their vaccine policy will be implemented. "We are pulling folks back who have shared their vaccination status," a spokesperson for the company told CNN Business. "We are prioritizing the vaccinated coming back," the spokesperson added.

Wells Fargo (CBEAX) is "collecting vaccination status from our employees to better enable our focus on health and safety in the workplace," a spokesperson for the company told CNN Business.

Jefferies (JEF) is only allowing vaccinated employees into the office according to a memo that the company's CEO and president sent to employees, and only after they're past the appropriate waiting period for full vaccine efficacy. "We require that, after Labor Day, anyone who is not fully vaccinated should continue to work from home," the memo said.

Barclays declined to comment on its vaccine policy.

JP Morgan Chase, UBS, HSBC did not respond to CNN's request for comment.

Wall Street's push for the office

For months, Wall Street has pushed for employees to come back to the office as more Americans get vaccinated against Covid-19.

Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman and Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, for example, both made it clear that they're expecting their employees to return by Labor Day — a date that is quickly approaching yet might become a moving target as the Delta variant continues to spread.

Gorman previously warned that he'll be "very disappointed" if workers aren't back by Labor Day. And for those who are not, "we'll have a different kind of conversation," he said. As for Moynihan, he recently said, "Our view is all the vaccinated teammates will be back" after Labor Day.

The rush to get back to the office is due, in part, to work cultural concerns, as Zoom calls and Slack messages are no substitute for in-person meetings and training. Others worries center on cybersecurity and risk management vulnerabilities inherent in businesses that conduct billions of dollars of transactions every day.

At its core, banking is a highly interactive business — and no one on hyper-competitive Wall Street wants to lose a deal because of a slow WiFi connection.

-- CNN's Matt Egan contributed to this report

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