Meta employees will need a COVID-19 booster to return to the office

Facebook's parent company has also delayed its return date to March as the Omicron variant continues to spread

Facebook's parent company Meta has issued a mandate that all employees need to have had a COVID-19 booster jab before returning to the office.

The social media giant has also delayed its plans to reopen offices until March 28, Reuters reports, as the virus continues to cause chaos across the US.

However, not all Meta staff will be required to return to the office, as the company previously announced that employees can request to work remotely full time.

In December the company also offered staff the option to defer their return to the workplace by three to five months. The situation now is that employees have until 14 March to decide if they want to return to the office, defer their return, or request permanent remote work. 

Those that do return will need to present proof of a booster jab; staff already have to prove they've had at least one vaccine to be eligible for office work. Employees that are not vaccinated for medical or religious reasons can request remote work, but those that choose not to be vaccinated can "face disciplinary measures". That includes "termination of employment", according to a Facebook spokesperson, though that is a "last resort". 

With the Omicron variant surging throughout the country, US firms have started to take a firm stance on employee vaccinations. Meta's announcement appears to be vague when it comes to terminations - exactly how long employees have until they reach that point is unclear.

In December Google also declared that employees will be fired if they decide not to have a COVID vaccine. 

The tech giant said that staff members who fail to report their vaccination status or apply for a medical or religious exemption by 18 January 2022 will be placed on "paid administrative leave" for 30 days. If still unvaccinated after that period they would then be placed on "unpaid personal leave" for up to six months. If an employee is still without a jab once the six months is up,  the company will then terminate their contract. 

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