- Bank of America is offering a $200 incentive to Merrill Lynch Wealth Management branch employees who return to the office and confirm they have been vaccinated against COVID-19, AdvisorHub and Bloomberg reported Wednesday, citing an internal memo.
- Client associates, administrative support and operations staff are eligible for the award, but advisers and office managers are not, AdvisorHub reported.
- Eligible staff must come to the office at least eight times between early October and mid-November, Bloomberg reported, citing an anonymous source. They must also be fully vaccinated by mid-November, a source told AdvisorHub. Employees can report their vaccination status through Merrill’s "confidential vaccination status tool," Merrill Wealth President Andy Sieg said in a separate memo Monday, according to AdvisorHub.
Bank of America is not the only business — nor the only bank — to offer a monetary incentive for employee vaccinations. Baltimore-based Capital Funding Group and CFG Bank launched an initiative in August to gift $1,000 to all employees who show proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Financial management company Vanguard is also offering $1,000 for employees to get vaccinated.
The nation's second-largest bank has not fully mandated vaccines for their employees. But more than 80% of Merrill’s roughly 25,000 employees have reported their vaccination status and intend to return to the office, a bank spokesperson told Bloomberg.
Only employees who have received vaccines and notified Bank of America have been asked to return to the office, Reuters reported.
"While there is no vaccine mandate across the company, we strongly recommend employees be vaccinated and to notify us of their status," the spokesperson said. "We continue to educate our employees on the health and safety guidelines from medical experts and health officials, and to encourage them to get vaccinated for the safety of themselves and others, including our clients."
Bank of America isn't the only Wall Street giant to shift its vaccination policy this week. JPMorgan Chase is banning travel and in-person meetings for employees who are unvaccinated or have not reported their vaccination status to the company. Unvaccinated JPMorgan staff must be tested for COVID-19 twice a week, and they will receive heftier payroll deductions to cover the cost of testing beginning next year, the bank said Monday in a memo seen by Bloomberg.
Internal response to CFG Bank's incentive has been "overwhelming," said Bill Weidel, the bank's president and CEO.
"Right now we're 97% vaccinated, and we still have a few people waiting to get their second shot," Weidel said last month. "So, we're really very close to 100%, and people were very, very supportive of the program."