Big Tech companies are telling their employees to be vaccinated before returning to the office as the Delta variant spreads

Google New York Office
Google in Manhattan. Mark Lennihan/AP Photo
  • Major tech companies recently said employees must get vaccinated before returning to the office.
  • Facebook and Google are among the firms mandating vaccines for in-person workers.
  • The EEOC says employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine or bar them from the office.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As return-to-work plans clash with rising COVID-19 cases in many states and the spread of the Delta variant, some tech giants are joining the growing chorus of companies requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the virus before coming into their offices.

The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has said employers can require employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine or bar them from the office.

On Wednesday, Facebook as well as Google’s parent company, Alphabet, announced that any employees coming into their US offices must be fully vaccinated, reversing course from earlier this year and marking a major shift among industry leaders.

Several other tech companies had already announced similar policies for employees working in person over the summer, including Adobe, VMware, Twilio, and Asana, Protocol reported earlier in July.

While employers are continuing to adapt their policies in light of evolving data, here’s where things stand with some of the biggest tech giants.

Facebook

  • Vaccines required: Yes, for employees to work in US offices.
  • Office-reopening plan: 50% capacity by early September, full capacity by October.
  • What they’re saying: “As our offices reopen, we will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated. How we implement this policy will depend on local conditions and regulations. We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves. We continue to work with experts to ensure our return to office plans prioritize everyone’s health and safety,” Facebook’s vice president of people, Lori Goler, said in a statement.

Google

  • Vaccines required: Yes, for employees to work in US offices.
  • Office-reopening target: 50% capacity by early September, full capacity by October 18, according to Reuters.
  • What they’re saying: “Anyone coming to work on our campuses will need to be vaccinated. We’re rolling this policy out in the US in the coming weeks and will expand to other regions in the coming months. The implementation will vary according to local conditions and regulations, and will not apply until vaccines are widely available in your area,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai wrote in a blog post Wednesday.

Netflix

  • Vaccines required: Yes, on US productions for actors and production staff working in “Zone A.”
  • Office-reopening target: Netflix said last year that its corporate offices wouldn’t reopen until “a majority of people” were vaccinated and that it was eyeing a return after Labor Day, on September 7, according to WWD.
  • What they’re saying: Netflix on Wednesday became the first major production studio to standardize a vaccine requirement across all US productions, requiring it for cast as well as crew members working in close proximity to them, according to Deadline. A Netflix representative confirmed the accuracy of Deadline’s reporting but declined to comment further.

Amazon

  • Vaccines required: No.
  • Office-reopening target: Amazon has said most of its offices are already open, employees are starting to return, and it expects many to be back in the office on a regular basis by September. Corporate employees will have flexible hybrid work options, while “employees in roles which require onsite work, such as hardware engineers and frontline operations,” will keep working onsite, according to a recent blog post.
  • What they’re saying: Amazon told Insider that employees who weren’t fully vaccinated must wear masks in the office and that it’s keeping an eye on the situation, getting input from health professionals, and prioritizing employee safety.

Uber

  • Vaccines required: No.
  • Office-reopening target: September 13, according to Reuters.
  • What they’re saying: Uber has been reluctant to require vaccines, but Insider’s Tom Dotan reported Wednesday that the company might be forced to reconsider the issue after an Uber board-meeting attendee who had COVID-19 was believed to have infected other employees.

Lyft

  • Vaccines required: Yes, for corporate employees. A Lyft representative said “we strongly encourage both drivers and riders to get vaccinated, but there is no requirement.”
  • Office-reopening target: Lyft said it recently extended its return-to-office target to “February 2, 2022, for the majority of our US locations including SF, Seattle, NYC, Denver, Los Angeles, and DC” in light of the Delta variant, a rise in cases, and the CDC’s guidance on indoor mask mandates.
  • What they’re saying: Lyft told Insider 88% of employees it surveyed were fully vaccinated, while 91% planned to be by September, adding that “We have a process in place to handle accommodations and exemptions for team members who have medical, religious, or other personal reasons for not receiving the vaccine.”

DoorDash

  • Vaccines required: Yes, for employees returning to the office in 2021. DoorDash said it didn’t have a formal policies for delivery workers but had marketed vaccine information to and surveyed them about their vaccination status.
  • Office-reopening target: January, with employees returning two to three days a week under a hybrid plan.
  • What they’re saying: “Employees voluntarily returning to any of our US corporate offices this year will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 (where permissible by local law) – and in accordance with current public-health guidance, any employee who is fully vaccinated does not need to wear a mask indoors at the office,” a DoorDash representative told Insider.

Salesforce

  • Vaccines required: “Voluntary vaccinated cohorts” have started returning to Salesforce’s global headquarters in San Francisco, and vaccines will be “encouraged” as more offices reopen, the company says.
  • Office-reopening target: A hundred Salesforce employees returned to Salesforce Tower in May, while 17 offices, mostly in the Asia-Pacific region, had started phased reopening at that point.
  • What they’re saying: Salesforce’s plan consists of voluntarily vaccinated cohorts, then limited-capacity reopenings, then full reopenings, with the timing dependent on COVID-19 data and local guidance.

Microsoft

  • Vaccines required: No.
  • Office-reopening target: September 7 at the earliest for return to the office without health restrictions.
  • What they’re saying: Insider’s Ashley Stewart reported in April that Microsoft pushed back its July reopening date to “afford additional flexibility for employees to make summer plans.” In January, Kurt DelBene, who’s heading up the company’s pandemic response, said Microsoft wouldn’t require vaccines.

Twitter

  • Vaccines required: No.
  • Office-reopening plan: Paused indefinitely.
  • What they’re saying: Twitter on Wednesday said it’s closing its San Francisco and New York offices and pausing further reopenings “in light of current conditions,” according to NPR’s Bobby Allyn.