Global HR headlines: Citi to fire unvaccinated employees

Study finds that companies that invested in employee training are less likely to let go of workers.

Citi has placed a hard deadline on worker vaccinations, with unvaccinated staff being placed on unpaid leave and then fired unless an exemption is granted. This at a time when employers in the US are struggling to fill positions as jobs data shows a slowdown in December 2021 hirings, low unemployment rate and rising wages. Meanwhile, Apple CEO Tim Cook earned more than 1,447 times the pay of the average employee at the tech giant.

Struggling to find workers
Hiring slowed significantly at the end of 2021, indicating that employers are struggling to fill positions even as the US remains millions of jobs short of pre-pandemic levels, reports The New York Times.

According to the US labour department, 199,000 jobs were added in December on a seasonally adjusted basis, compared to 249,000 in November. The gains were the smallest in a year that nonetheless produced record job growth.

Meanwhile, the unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent, with wages rising 0.6 percent in December and 4.7 percent for the year.

Apple reveals Cook’s pay
Apple boss Tim Cook's pay in 2021 was 1,447 times that of the average employee at the tech giant, fuelled by stock awards that helped him earn a total of nearly $100 million (R1,566 million), reports Reuters.

In 2021, the median pay for employees was $68,254 (R1,068,509), Apple said, adding it had selected a new median employee for comparison due to changes in hiring and compensation. The median pay in 2020 was $57,783 (R904,586) and the pay ratio was 256 times Cook’s salary.

Citi to fire unvaccinated workers
Citigroup staff in the US who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 by 14 January will be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless they are granted an exemption, a source familiar with the matter said, reports CNN.

The US bank becomes the first major Wall Street institution to follow through with a strict vaccine mandate, as the financial industry grapples with how to bring workers back to offices safely and get back to business as usual at a time when the highly infectious omicron variant is spreading like wildfire.

Other major Wall Street banks, including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase, have requested some unvaccinated employees to work from home.

Fewer layoffs when companies invest in employee training
According to new research by Cornell University, which was published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, companies that invested more in employee training before the pandemic were less likely to lay off their employees and reduce their workforces to cope with pandemic-related financial pressures.

The findings suggested that investments in training increased the value of employees to an organisation. As a result, the organisation was less likely to see employees as disposable resources that can easily be let go via layoffs or other workforce reductions – such as offering early retirements and leaving vacant positions unfilled – when the organisation faced pressures to reduce costs, reports Asian News International.