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Jabs for jobs: These retailers are requiring office workers to be vaccinated

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

16 Aug 2021

Retail

Image: Pexels

As Covid passports and proof of vaccinations and negative tests become criteria for attending events and traveling, they are also becoming mandatory for some of America’s biggest retailers.

For a small but growing sector of companies, vaccinations for its employees are obligatory, iterating a controversial “jabs for jobs” requirement.

At TJX Companies Inc., parent company of Marshalls and TJ Maxx, all U.S. home and regional employees must be fully vaccinated by November 1st. In a statement a spokesperson said: “We believe the current protocols that we have in place in our stores and distribution centers are working well at this time. With our offices reopening for the first time in more than 18 months, we felt this additional step was an important one to take.”

At Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, a planned re-opening of its corporate offices in September is making vaccinations mandatory for returning employees. According to the New York Times Saks has about 500 workers at its office in Brookfield Place in Manhattan’s financial district. Marc Metrick, chief executive of Saks, told the news outlet: “New York City is a city that is built and exists around density, and when no one’s here, it’s not a great place,” said Mr. Metrick, who lives on the Upper West Side. “The work force is going to bring back the day trippers, and the day trippers and work force bring back the tourists. It’s about having people feel good about coming to New York City.”

Jabs for jobs

Sportswear giant Under Armour is giving its employees until end of the year to be vaccinated. The company is set to re-open its campus in January 2022, requiring all returning employees to be fully vaccinated. Its retail and distribution workers are not required to do so, but will be forced to wear masks at work.

“The health, safety and well-being of our teammates as well as their families are our top priority,” Tchernavia Rocker, Under Armour’s chief people and administrative officer, said in a statement. “We want to provide teammates with a safe work environment and, at this time, we believe that being vaccinated is the way to keep our team healthy and safe.”

Walmart is also mandating vaccines for its office workers. “We continue to watch with deep concern the developments of the pandemic and the spread of variants, especially the delta variant,” Donna Morris, Walmart’s chief people officer said in a released memo to staff. “We know vaccinations are our solution to drive change. We are urging you to get vaccinated and want to see many more of you vaccinated.”

In the U.K. office workers are not obliged to be vaccinated and companies are able to set their own Covid-19 regulations. The U.K. Government has previously hinted that vaccination passports may be needed for shoppers to enter some shops later this year.