Bank of America has cautioned its overweight employees that they may be at more risk of the virus.
In a memo sent to staff globally last Friday, the bank highlighted recently updated medical guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which identifies people with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 as being at particular risk from the coronavirus. U.S. staff in this and other high risk categories should contact HR, said BofA. Elsewhere in the world, the bank said it would contact team members with high risk factors and that they could work remotely for the forseeable future.
One BofA insider suggested that the bank appeared to be "discriminating against fat people." However many of those allowed to stay out of the office due to risk factors will be thankful for the bank's approach.
In the same memo, Bank of America said it now requires staff to wear a facemask in all its offices worldwide and encouraged employees to use a healthscreening app to record their wellbeing. Childcare cost reimbursements in the U.S. have been extended until August 15th, and free coronavirus tests are being offered until December 31st. In-person meetings have been banned until the end of 2020, and even in 2021 employees will need to coordinate global events centrally.
While some banks have told employees not to come back until 2021, BofA says in the memo that, "Returns will happen gradually over time, based on local conditions, the requirements of our health and safety framework, and client needs," and that staff asked to return to its offices will be given 30 days' notice.
Bank of America declined to comment on the memo. It's understood that some staff returned to the Hong Kong office seven to eight weeks ago, but only if they were comfortable with coming back in. They have now been given the option to work from home in light of the rise in cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong. The memo also states that a limited number of people in the U.S. will return to NorthEast offices in September, with returns continuing into 2021. Some employees said they'd prefer to simply return next year.
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