Intel, the state of Oregon’s largest corporate employer, informed employees on Thursday that the company will be requiring them to be vaccinated by January 4 or submit to weekly tests.
The CPU manufacturer’s move is a step towards compliance with President Joe Biden’s federal vaccine mandate for government contractors. The company currently employs 21,000 in its Washington County campuses in Oregon, a state with some of the strictest pandemic-related restrictions in the United States.
The chipmaker has not publicly shared any data on the vaccination status of its workforce.
Under Biden’s federal vaccine mandate, companies with 100 or more workers must require that their employees be vaccinated or submit to weekly tests. Although the mandate is currently in limbo after a federal court in Louisiana pumped the brakes on it last week following a lawsuit brought on by conservative states, companies, and religious groups, Intel said that it is required to impose the mandate to comply with a separate mandate that applies to federal contractors.
The vaccine mandate affecting government contractors like Intel extends beyond employees, and includes independent contractors, interns, cafeteria workers, janitors, and maintenance staff employed at Intel’s many factories and offices.
Intel told employees on Thursday that it is working with government agencies to delay the order until the end of the first quarter next year in recognition of “the complexity and size of our workforce,” the Oregonian reported, adding that the memo also announced that Intel is finalizing a process to offer religious and medical exemptions.
The company stated it “will provide free and convenient testing for employees who have not provided proof of vaccination” by Jan. 4, 2022.
Intel announced in August that it would pay bonuses of up to $350 to employees who voluntarily choose to be vaccinated. Employees who opt in will also receive “thank you” payments and other incentives.