Ford postpones return-to-work program until March amid omicron variant

Ford Motor Company Global Headquarters, Dearborn, Michigan, January 19, 2021.

Aaron J. Thornton | Getty Images

DETROIT – Ford Motor is once again delaying hybrid return-to-work plan for salaried employees until March amid concerns over increasing Covid-19 cases in its home state of Michigan and uncertainty surrounding the omicron variant.

The automaker informed employees on Monday that it now plans to begin a pilot phase for some employees in February and March, followed by a full rollout of the program originally announced in March 2021. Ford had previously said it would not return at work under a hybrid working model no earlier than January, which had already been pushed back at least two other times.

“The state of the COVID-19 virus remains fluid, and despite the success of our ongoing safety protocols and increasing vaccination rates, we are shifting the start date of the hybrid working model to March,” said the company in an e-mailed statement.

Ford’s delay comes days after Google said it would not require its employees to resume their jobs in January as scheduled, saying it would wait until the New Year to assess when U.S. offices can safely return to a “stable and long-term working environment”. “

About 120,000 to 130,000 of Ford’s 184,000 employees, mostly in manufacturing, have already returned to work. The company’s 56,000 hourly workers in the United States, represented by the United Auto Workers union, began returning to work in May 2020 after automakers in Detroit were forced to shut factories for several weeks at the start. of the pandemic.

Ford’s Hybrid Work Program is a combination of on-site and remote work for employees whose jobs do not require them to be in a physical facility.

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