Two major U.S. employers on Friday announced policies that will require more of the workforce to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Walmart said all employees at its headquarters and managers who travel within the U.S. must be vaccinated by early October, and The Walt Disney Co., a media conglomerate that owns Disney theme parks, ABC networks and namesake movie studios, will require all salaried and non-union employees to be vaccinated in the next 60 days.
Walmart's vaccine mandate excludes frontline workers, who, the retail giant says, have a lower vaccination rate than management. But it’s hoping that managerial employees, who represent just a fraction of its 1.5 million workers, will serve as inspiration.
“We’re hoping that will influence even more of our frontline associates to become vaccinated,” Walmart spokesman Scott Pope said.
The company is also doubling to $150 the incentive it is offering to workers in stores, clubs, as well as other facilities like distribution centers, to get the vaccine. Those who already received the $75 incentive will receive another $75 in their paycheck dated Aug 19.
Disney's policy will apply to all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of its sites.
“At The Walt Disney Company, the safety and well-being of our employees during the pandemic has been and continues to be a top priority," the company said Friday. "Toward that end, and based on the latest recommendations of scientists, health officials and our own medical professionals that the COVID-19 vaccine provides the best protection against severe infection, we are requiring that all salaried and non-union hourly employees in the U.S. working at any of our sites be fully vaccinated."
The company said those who aren't already vaccinated have 60 days to complete their vaccination "with certain limited exceptions," and said it would enter conversations with unions representing employees over vaccinations.
"Vaccines are the best tool we all have to help control this global pandemic and protect our employees," the statement said.
Vaccine mandates by private employers are on the rise as the highly contagious delta variant drives a surge in Covid cases across the United States.
Earlier this week, Google and Facebook announced vaccine mandates for their employees, and tech giant Apple said it would delay a planned return to the office for employees.
President Joe Biden announced Thursday a federal vaccine mandate that would require all workers be vaccinated or face regular testing.