Facebook delays return to office until March, Covid-19 boosters required

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Facebook parent Meta Platforms said on Monday it is delaying employees’ return to offices across the U.S. until March 28 — adding that proof of a booster shot will be required to protect against the surging omicron variant.

Meta said on Monday the pushback of the return-to-office date gives employees more flexibility regarding their work arrangements amid the lingering effects of the pandemic.

The social media giant, whose headquarters are located in Menlo Park, Calif., previously planned to fully reopen offices for vaccinated employees on Jan. 31.

“We’re focused on making sure our employees continue to have choices about where they work given the current Covid-19 landscape,” Janelle Gale, Meta’s vice president of human resources, said in a statement. “We understand that the continued uncertainty makes this a difficult time to make decisions about where to work, so we’re giving more time to choose what works best for them.”

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If employees want to work remotely after March 28, they will need to request a deferral from Meta by mid-March, the company said, adding the deferrals will last between three and five months.

The omicron variant of Covid-19 has forced several of Meta’s neighbors in Silicon Valley to push back their return-to-work plans, but Meta is one of the first big companies to tell its employees that proof of a booster shot will be required to work in the office.

Apple told employees last month that it did not have a firm date to be back in the office. In December, Google parent Alphabet pushed back its Jan 10. return date indefinitely until a “stable, long-term working environment” could be assured.

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