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A hot potato: Although Apple is one of the few tech companies that doesn’t make vaccinations mandatory for staff, there are incoming rules for unvaccinated employees: they will be forced to take a Covid-19 test every time they want to enter an office.
Bloomberg reports that the daily testing will apply to employees who decline to report their vaccination status to Apple. Vaccinated staff, in contrast, will be required to take rapid tests once per week.
Only Apple's unvaccinated corporate employees will be required to take daily tests. Unvaccinated workers in the company’s retail stores will be asked to take a test twice per week, rather than each day they come into work. Vaccinated retail staff will still need to take rapid tests each week.
Apple is asking employees to report their vaccination status by October 24, which is later than the previous mid-September deadline, and must also show proof of their status in the coming days. The new testing requirements go into effect on November 1.
At-home rapid tests will be available from Apple offices and retail stores. A single test takes 15 minutes, and the results must be self-reported through an internal app.
Back in July, Apple, a long-time proponent of in-person rather than remote work, delayed its planned return to offices by a month in light of rising Covid-19 cases spurred by the Delta variant. In August, it delayed the return-to-work requirement again, until early 2022. Despite the daily testing mandate arriving soon, the company’s latest guidance is that staff should work in the office at least three days per week beginning in January. Employees will receive a one-month warning before they have to return.
Apple’s vaccination policies are certainly not as strict as many other companies. Facebook, Netflix, and Google, Walt Disney, Uber, Microsoft, Lyft, several large banks, and many more all require vaccines for workers.
Image credit (center): Jernej Furman