T-Mobile follows AT&T in requiring vaccines for some employees

Delta Airlines said recently that it costs $50,000 per person for COVID patients who are hospitalized. So, the company is now charging its unvaccinated employees $200 per month more for health insurance to help defray its increasing health insurance costs, reported CNBC. Delta self-insures its employees.

FierceWireless’ sister company FierceHealthcare has reported extensively on the Covid pandemic since it began. It recently found that more than 160 health-care systems are requiring that their employees get vaccinated.

We wondered how wireless carriers are handling their Covid policies, so we reached out. Both T-Mobile and AT&T now have vaccination requirements for some of their employees. The other big wireless carriers are more lax in their policies.

Here’s a roundup of current policies, according to the carriers:

T-Mobile — A T-Mobile spokesperson said, “We want to create a safe workspace for our office employees to collaborate and work together, so effective September 1, our corporate offices will only be open to those who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19, through at least March 1, 2022. As we are highly encouraging employees to get vaccinated and realize some may need more to time for that, we have shifted our required return to the office date out to October 25 - but hope our employees will be back in the office sooner.

This isn’t a vaccine mandate - it is about our office spaces only. Employees of course make their own health choices, and can request to continue to work remotely during this timeframe, which will be approved based on their role and circumstances.

This workspace policy applies to badge-controlled office locations only, including our Customer Experience Centers (customer service locations), due to the high density of employees in our offices. It does not apply to our open-to-the-public retail locations, where we continue to encourage vaccination and require employees and guests to wear masks if unvaccinated."

AT&T — An AT&T spokesperson said, “Given the recent surge in the Delta variant, we are taking additional steps to help ensure the safety of our employees and customers and provide for effective business continuity in what is a dynamic and uncertain environment. To help make our workplace safer:

We’re implementing the CDC’s new guidance on face coverings for our employees, regardless of vaccination status, who come in to work locations in areas with high or substantial transmission of COVID-19.

We’re requiring management employees be vaccinated before entering a work location. In the interest of employee safety, we plan to begin discussions with our union partners to jointly align on a path forward for our union-represented employees.

We will make exceptions for employees who are unable to be vaccinated for medical or other reasons.”

Verizon — According to its website, “We require all U.S. employees to wear a face covering while indoors and unable to maintain distance. Additionally, our retail team members are required to wear face coverings when on the store floor. We continue to adhere to any local laws that are more restrictive in requiring masks.

A spokesperson added, “We have also continued our ‘Touchless Retail’ experience, which includes physical and digital elements that make it easier to maintain safe distancing in our stores and more efficient at transacting business like mobile check-in and touchless payment options.”

US Cellular — A spokesperson wrote, “We haven’t fully reopened our business offices, but for associates choosing to go to their office, we are requiring masks to be worn except when sitting alone at their desks and socially distanced. When we determine that it is safe to have our associates return to their offices, we are taking an approach of ‘coming together on purpose for a purpose.’”

US Cellular does require masks to be worn by all its store associates. Its Store Finder website says, “We encourage all customers to wear masks when visiting our stores; however, masks are optional for fully vaccinated individuals unless otherwise directed by state or local ordinances.”

Dish Network — "We have continued to follow all local, state and federal requirements at our sites across the country and are constantly re-evaluating our policies in the face of evolving circumstances,” said a spokesperson. “At Boost Mobile, our independent wireless retailers take customer and team member safety very seriously.  As with our corporate sites, each retailer follows all local, state and federal requirements.”