Vaccine nationalism getting in the way of rollout
Bank of Montreal is offering employees three hours of paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine when it’s available to them, and will pay for some costs associated with getting the shots.
The bank will foot the bill for expenses such as administration fees not covered through public health plans or government agencies, Chief Executive Officer Darryl White said in a message to employees on Monday. The company has no plans, however, to require that employees get vaccinated, according to the memo.
“I strongly encourage you to receive it if you’re able,” White said in the memo, adding that the bank recognizes “that some of our colleagues belong to groups with unique risk profiles around vaccines and may be unable to receive them.”
The Toronto-based bank, Canada’s fourth-largest lender by assets, had 43,360 full-time equivalent employees as of Oct. 31. About 29,300 of those workers were in Canada, and roughly 12,500 were in the U.S., with the remainder in other countries.
White said that he and his family will “be quick to line up” for vaccinations when they’re available to them and that “regaining a tomorrow that does not look like today requires widespread vaccination.” He said that Bank of Montreal’s leadership team will advocate for getting vaccinated “as the best way to save lives and reopen the economy.”
“Expect BMO to take a clear position and a proactive public stance in support of accelerating the pace of distribution that will lead to widespread vaccination,” White said.