Apple is encouraging its own employees to get COVID-19 shots by offering paid time off for vaccine appointments along with paid sick leave for those who may be experiencing side-effects, according to people with knowledge of the matter.
Paid Time Off for COVID Appointments
The company isn’t providing shots to employees, Bloomberg‘s Mark Gurman has it.
Apple also told staff in recent weeks that it does not have access to vaccines and is not providing shots itself to workers. Since the pandemic began to spread last year, Apple has offered paid time off to those with COVID-19 symptoms.
This isn’t the only such initiative from Apple—the company has been providing on-site COVID-19 testing for employees returning to the Apple Park headquarters, as well as mail-in testing kits for its retail and corporate employees.
And to help its customers find vaccination sites, Apple Maps now shows nearby COVID-19 vaccine providers in the United States. The data in question comes from VaccineFinder, a free online service developed by Boston Children’s Hospital. The information can be ascertained either by looking at the Apple Maps app or by asking Siri for details.
More Apple Staff Could Return to Offices in June
The hope here is that the company might be able to accelerate Apple Park re-openings by encouraging its own employees to get vaccinated. CEO Tim Cook recently said he couldn’t wait for workers to return to offices. Last year, he told staff that, in his view, innovation heavily depends on in-person collaboration and conversation.
My gut says that, for us, it’s still very important to physically be in touch with one another because collaboration isn’t always a planned activity. Innovation isn’t always a planned activity. It’s bumping into each other over the course of the day and advancing an idea that you just had. And you really need to be together to do that.
While it’s true that there’s no replacement for face-to-face collaboration, the harsh realities have forced a host of Silicon Valley technology giants to shift to working from home due to the pandemic, risking productivity loss as a result of those changes.
Most of Apple’s employees, for instance, have been working from home since the pandemic hit last year, and many of them continue to work remotely. The company’s retail stores in the United States and around the world had been largely shut down for the better part of last year due to the pandemic although all US locations have reopened since the start of March.
Cook hopes that employees could return to the campuses as early as June.