Thursday 2 September 2021 7:18 pm

UBS chief: Staff who choose not to get vaccine can work from home rather than office

UBS employees who don’t want to receive the Covid vaccine can apply to work from home instead, the Swiss bank’s CEO Ralph Hamers announced today, indicating a more flexible approach than some banking rivals.

Some banks, including Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, have mandated vaccines for staff returning to their desks in some locations – predominantly in the US.

But the 73,000 staff working at UBS worldwide will have more options with regards to vaccine status, Hamers said at the Swiss Economic Forum in Interlaken today.

“We have 25,000 employees alone in the US and thousands more in Singapore and Hong Kong, and every country has a different legal framework around what you can and can’t make mandatory,” Hamers said, as first reported by Bloomberg.

“The pandemic has delivered solutions to manage the risk of carrying the virus and passing it to your colleagues, and that is to work from home.”

Those who choose not to get vaccinated will be able to work remotely most of the time, according to the latest development in the bank’s plans.

It comes two months after UBS committed to offering most of its employees hybrid working options, dependent on their role, tasks and location.

“We have already identified two thirds of our jobs can continue to work from home and therefore we are developing a model of hybrid working,” Hamers said today, adding, “there will be days where we want to come in and work in your teams physically.”

But for the remaining “25 per cent to one third” of the bank’s employees who work on the trading floor, a vaccine to enable a return to the office becomes a necessity after Hamer previously said that for them, it is “really difficult to work from home.”

It comes as soaring Covid cases in some locations around the world have forced companies such as Google, Amazon and Lyft to push back their planned return to the office in the past few weeks.

A discrepancy in vaccine rollout speeds in different countries paired with varied rates of vaccine hesitancy in locations around the world have posed a particular issue for global companies attempting to navigate a safe return for employees back to their desks.

A recent survey by Willis Towers Watson found that over 52 per cent of companies plan to have one or more vaccine mandate requirements as they plan an office return, including Apple, Goldman Sachs and Uber.