The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis announced Wednesday it would require its employees to get vaccinated by the end of August.
The institution’s 1,100 employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of August or they will lose employment at the bank, President and CEO Neel Kashkari said in a post on the Fed website.
There will be exemptions for medical reasons and religious beliefs. Anyone hired in the future at the bank will be subject to the new policy.
More than 82 percent of the employees are already fully vaccinated, according to Kashkari. The remaining 18 percent have not indicated their plan to get vaccinated or said they will not get vaccinated.
“While some staff may be unhappy with this new requirement, we believe most will appreciate the actions we are taking on our collective behalf,” Kashkari said.
“We hope our remaining staff get vaccinated so we can all get back to our important mission of serving the public,” he added.
Kashkari said the decision to mandate vaccines came out of the desire to return to in-person work as it is difficult to implement social distancing requirements in the bank.
“Simply put, while we will enjoy more flexibility in where we work going forward, we are not going to be a fully remote institution. In order to fulfill our public-service mission, we need more face-to-face contact than remote work allows, but there is no way for us to bring a critical mass of our staff back into our facilities and maintain social distancing. Hence, we need our employees to be vaccinated,” Kashkari said.
Many other companies, hospitals and colleges have implemented vaccine requirements for the fall in order to drop pandemic health restrictions, but vaccine mandates remain controversial.