As Omicron-triggered Covid infections surge globally especially in the US, Google has said it will now require fully vaccinated workers who are coming to offices to get weekly Covid tests.
Google will require anyone going to one of its US offices or facilities to have received a negative molecular test for COVID-19, reports CNBC citing an internal memo sent to employees.
Workers going to the office regularly will have to get tested weekly, chief health officer Karen DeSalvo said in the memo, and employees have been asked to report their vaccination status and wear surgical-grade masks indoors.
Google implemented a new COVID-19 policy, one where “Anyone accessing our sites in the US are expected to obtain a recent negative COVID-19 molecular test before coming onsite” and that it’s offering various kinds of tests at no Cost.
Google offers free at-home testing to full-time employees and contract workers through BioIQ’s PCR-based nasal swab tests, Erickson said, but Bloomberg reported this week that full-time employees also have access to molecular tests from Cue Health that can give results in just a few minutes.
Last month, Google reportedly told employees that they will lose pay -- and will eventually be fired -- if they do not comply with the company's Covid-19 vaccination policy.
The company also offers contract workers free RT-PCR-based nasal swab tests.
Employees who did not comply with the vaccination rules by the January 18 deadline will be placed on "paid administrative leave" for 30 days. After that, the company will put them on "unpaid personal leave" for up to six months, followed by termination.
While much of the Tech industry continues to push back return-to-work plans and companies large and small prepare for a flexible future, Google is requiring its workforce to eventually come into physical offices three days a week at some point in 2022.
Erickson tells us that some Google contractors at the company’s datacenters have access to rapid on-site testing using the Cue machines, though.
These new policies add to Google’s directive from December requiring employees to get vaccinated or risk being forced to take leave and eventually be fired. The company delayed its mandatory return to the office to some point this year in August.
This week, Meta also upped its health policies for employees, requiring anyone returning to its offices when they open at the end of March to have received a booster dose of a vaccine.