Jefferies will only allow employees back into its offices if they have been vaccinated against Covid-19, as executives raise concerns about an increase in infections among its staff.
Rich Handler, the firm’s chief executive, and chairman Brian Friedman, told staff in a letter that the move was in reaction to employees’ health and safety concerns. There have been 40 cases of Covid-19 among Jefferies’ employees in the past month, according to the letter.
“The Delta variant, in particular, is now complicating life further and we believe that, until the world gets much closer to fully vaccinated, this 4 letter of the Greek alphabet may be followed by many additional letters denominating new variants,” the letter said.
“The vast preponderance of people at Jefferies are vaccinated, and for that we are incredibly grateful. Even so, this month we have had 40 new cases of Covid, including two short hospitalizations, almost all cases certain to be the Delta strain. Thankfully, the fact that 92% of our colleagues contracting the virus this month were vaccinated resulted overall in mild cases and speedy recoveries,” it added.
In February, Jefferies back-tracked on a plan to ban its London-based employees from its offices in the City unless they had a Covid-19 jab.
The bank said that “verification of vaccination will be required to access the office” in a memo to staff, but subsequently changed tack, saying in a later message that “we did not intend to make it sound as if we are mandating vaccines”.
Jefferies plans on maintaining a flexible working model after the pandemic, but said that as office-based employee numbers grow in September, staff who are not fully vaccinated should continue to work from home.
“We have been hearing from many of you about your concerns for safety and health, and we have concluded that the best strategy for now is to only allow into Jefferies’ offices people who are fully vaccinated (and past the appropriate waiting period for full efficacy),” the letter said. “The same will apply for all events we host outside our offices. This includes any guests or clients who may want to be with us in person.”
Larger rivals have made similar moves in the US. Morgan Stanley told staff in the country that only vaccinated employees would be allowed back into its New York and Westchester County offices. JPMorgan said it would consider doing the same for US-based employees, but has so far only asked staff to reveal their vaccine status.
Bloomberg earlier reported the contents of Jefferies’ letter.
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