Nike will now require office-based U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
In a statement to FN on Tuesday, Nike said it would require all U.S. office-based employees to get the vaccine in order to support “the effort to bring people safely back to their workplaces.” Nike said it aims call employees back to its offices by January 10, 2022.
Nike, which has previously avoided an outright vaccine mandate, now joins a growing list of footwear and retail companies that have mandated vaccination for employees. In August, Under Armour said it would require all employees to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 31, 2021 in order to return to campus in January and engage in company-sponsored travel. Saks Fifth Avenue, Walmart, and TJX Companies previously announced similar mandates.
Nike’s announcement comes shortly after President Biden’s new rule that companies with 100 or more employees would be required to mandate the vaccine across their staff. The rule, which technically includes retailers like Nike, gives employees the option for weekly COVID-19 testing instead of the vaccine. Nike did not confirm whether or not its employees will have the option to test instead of getting vaccinated.
In the wake of Biden’s mandate, which will be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), certain retail groups expressed concern regarding their ability to undertake a vaccination effort across their workforces. In a joint open letter sent to Department of Labor and OSHA, representatives from the National Retail Federation (NRF) and the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) requested that retailers be given more time to implement and create systems needed to meet the new mandate.
Some companies have expressed their outright support of the mandate.
“We haven’t seen all of the details on it, but frankly, we’re thrilled that the playing field is being leveled,” Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, told Yahoo Finance Live on Friday. “We had been talking about installing mandates across our company. This is really the only way to get the COVID-19 pandemic under control.”