Ford has become the first major US automaker to announce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all of its staff, joining a slew of other major companies that have already done so.
The automaker told its roughly 32,000 salaried employees about the mandate in a staff-wide note on Tuesday, giving workers until Dec. 8 to be fully vaccinated, CNBC reported.
The company will consider religious and medical exemptions for employees, a Ford spokesperson said.
But employees who refuse to get vaccinated and don’t have an approved religious or medical exemption will be put on paid leave for a maximum of 30 days. After that, they could be terminated, according to the spokesperson.
“The health and safety of our workforce remains our top priority and we have been very encouraged by the support of our employees to comply with our protocols, including the more than 84-percent of U.S. salaried employees who are already vaccinated,” a spokesperson told CNBC.
Notably, some employees throughout the Ford company are not affected by the mandate, including those represented by the United Auto Workers union.
Ford said it’s analyzing collective bargaining agreements with its unionized workers to see whether it could enforce a vaccine mandate.
While the UAW has encouraged its members to get vaccinated, it has stopped short of supporting any company-wide mandates to do so.
“As we continue to put measures in place to protect our team, Ford will now require most US salaried employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by Dec. 8, which also aligns to federal contractor guidelines,” a Ford spokesperson said.
With its announcement, Ford is now the first of the so-called Big Three automakers in the Detroit area to announce a COVID-19 mandate.
General Motors and Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler, have required salaried employees to submit their vaccination status but have not required them to get jabbed.