Wells Fargo is pushing its return-to-office plans back a month to early October, citing rising COVID-19 rates across the US
The firm, which has the largest workforce of any US bank at almost 260,000 employees, will now begin bringing back staffers who have been working remotely starting Oct. 4 rather than Sept. 7, as previously announced, according to an internal memo Thursday from Chief Operating Officer Scott Powell.
The delay comes as companies across the financial industry and beyond grapple with adjusting their return-to-office plans amid climbing coronavirus cases tied to the highly contagious delta variant and changes in mask guidance across the country. The biggest US banks have so far stopped short of requiring their employees to be vaccinated, in contrast with technology giants such as Alphabet’s Google and Facebook Inc. and the state of California and New York City, which have said government employees will need the shots or weekly tests.
“The delta variant does not change the basic facts: vaccinated people are at lower risk of becoming infected with COVID-19, and much lower risk of becoming seriously ill and requiring hospitalization if they do become infected,” Powell wrote in the memo. The bank is offering eight hours paid time off for employees to get vaccinated. “Please take advantage of the extra time off that Wells Fargo offers for you to get vaccinated.”
The San Francisco-based firm has also returned to requiring all employees currently working in offices to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status, according to a Wells Fargo spokesperson.