Minneapolis Fed demands COVID-19 vaccinations by next month – or employees will lose their jobs


Employees of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis have until the end of August to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if they wish to keep their jobs, Minneapolis Fed Chairman Neel Kashkari said on Wednesday.

“To fulfill our public service mission, we need more face-to-face contact than remote working allows, but there is no way for us to bring a critical mass of our staff back to our facilities. and maintain social distancing. Therefore, we need our employees to be vaccinated.

– Neel Kashkari, President and CEO, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

There will be exceptions for workers with health issues or religious beliefs preventing firing, he noted.

But if not, that’s the new normal – at least at the Minneapolis Fed. “Future hires will be subject to this policy,” Kashkari wrote.

There is something lost with working entirely remotely, he said. “Simply put, while we will enjoy more flexibility in the future, we are not going to be a completely isolated institution. “

Kashkari ad is a high-profile decision at a time when many employers have tried all kinds of incentives and incentives, but have ultimately avoided imposing vaccination as a condition of job retention.

For example, in a May survey of large employers, 3% said they needed a COVID-19 vaccination and 15% were considering it. In an ongoing US Census Bureau small business survey, 5% said they required proof of workers’ vaccination. This is the national average based on responses from the end of June.

More than 82% of the more than 1,100 Minneapolis Fed employees have already been fully immunized, according to Kashkari. “Most of the remaining 18 percent did not tell us about their immunization plans, and a small percentage indicated that they were not planning to be immunized. ”

Ahead of the new policy, Kashkari said “we have strongly encouraged all our colleagues to get vaccinated”.

As of Tuesday, more than 58% of the U.S. adult population was fully vaccinated and 67% had received at least one of their injections, according to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Kashkari said the law was on his side to make vaccination mandatory. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal labor regulatory body, has confirmed that employers can require vaccination for in-person work, he noted.

Last month, a federal judge upheld the mandatory vaccination policy of the Houston, Texas hospital system. After the judge’s dismissal, more than 150 workers refusing the shot quit or were fired, according to the Associated Press.

Some observers have said the recent court ruling may push more hospitals and healthcare providers to adopt a mandatory vaccination policy. The trend may gain momentum depending on whether the Pfizer PFE,
+ 0.15%
-BioNTech BNTX,
and Moderna mRNA,
vaccines get full FDA approval, some say. But the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis is not a health care provider.

Kashkari’s announcement did not mention the judge’s decision, which is under appeal.

“While some staff may be unhappy with this new requirement, we believe most will appreciate the actions we take on our collective behalf,” Kashkari wrote. “We hope that our remaining staff will be vaccinated so that we can all resume our important mission of serving the public. “

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