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Are you prepared for what the Supreme Court has to say on vaccine mandates?

January 4, 2022, 11:21 AM UTC

Good morning,

Almost two years since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, employee safety remains top of mind.

As the Omicron variant continues to drive up coronavirus cases, for the first few weeks of 2022, Wall Street institutions like JPMorgan and Citigroup are going back to allowing employees to work remotely. And employers like Starbucks, where employees work in-person on a daily basis, are solidifying vaccine mandates.

Starbucks’ U.S. workers must be vaccinated or agree to weekly testing by Feb. 9. The company is also requiring employees to disclose their vaccination status by Jan. 10, according to a message to employees dated Dec. 27 from Starbucks North America President John Culver, Fortune reported on Monday. The company’s plans are in line with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) emergency temporary standard (ETS) for private employers with 100 or more employees. The measure will affect approximately 84 million workers, according to OSHA.

This should be on your radar this week—The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Friday to weigh challenges by several businesses and Republican-led states to the Biden administration vaccination policies. For example, in November, The Walt Disney Company temporarily paused its COVID vaccine mandate for its Florida-based workers. A state bill prevents private businesses from instituting vaccine mandates unless they provide certain exemptions. In a statement on Dec. 22 in response to the high court’s special session, the White House defended its policies and said, “it is critical to protect workers with vaccination requirements and testing protocols that are urgently needed.”

The ETS was released in November and set to take effect on Jan. 4. However, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an injunction blocking the ETS, according to The National Law Review. On Dec. 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit in Cincinnati dissolved the stay on enforcing the ETS, putting it back into effect. As a result, OSHA pushed back the ETS compliance date to Jan. 10

Towards the end of 2021, worker vaccine requirements began to level off, according to Gallup. A report released on Dec. 15 found 36% of U.S. workers surveyed said their employer requires its employees to be vaccinated. The percentage was the same in November and October. The findings are based on 2,000 employed adults, nationwide, who are members of the Gallup Panel. The report also found that among vaccinated workers, 40% said their employer requires vaccines. A study released on Dec. 9 by Ipsos and the World Economic Forum found about 78% of the 14,400 employees surveyed across 33 countries believe workers should be fully vaccinated as a requirement for returning to the office. Meanwhile, the prolific spread of the Omicron variant has spurred companies like Walmart to bring back its incentive program, offering $150 after associates become fully vaccinated. 

As the war for talent and the pandemic continue, vaccine mandates may both attract and repel employees. In any case, be prepared. 


See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada
sheryl.estrada@fortune.com

Big deal

Morgan Stanley's E-Trade released data on Jan. 3 from its monthly sector rotation study. It found that the top three sectors in November and December were communication services, information technology, and financials. Communication services led in both months. The findings are based on the trading platform's customer notional net percentage buy/sell behavior for stocks that comprise the S&P 500 sectors.

Courtesy of E-Trade

Going deeper

An analysis released on Jan. 3 by global advisory Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW) found the financial health of some of the largest U.S. corporate pension plans improved in 2021. The firm examined data for 361 Fortune 1000 companies that sponsor U.S. defined benefit pension plans and have a December fiscal year-end date. At the end of 2021, the aggregate pension funded status of these plans is estimated to be 96%, up from 88% at the end of 2020, according to the report. Willis Towers Watson noted this is "the highest funded status since 2007, the last year defined benefit plans of the Fortune 1000 were fully funded." In 2021, "defined benefit plan sponsors made great headway on their path toward full funding, something many plans haven’t experienced since prior to the 2008 financial crisis,” Joseph Gamzon, managing director, retirement, Willis Towers Watson, said in a statement.

Leaderboard

John Doyle was named CFO at 4D pharma plc (NASDAQ: LBPS), a pharmaceutical company. Doyle brings over 15 years of experience at public health care companies. He joins 4D pharma after serving as CFO at Chiasma Inc., a publicly traded biopharmaceutical company acquired by Amryt Pharma in 2021. Prior to Chiasma, he was VP of finance and investor relations at Verastem Inc. Doyle was previously head of financial planning and analysis at SimpliVity Corp. Before that, he was director of business unit financial planning and analysis, Early Phase Division, at PAREXEL. 

Jeff Sperber was named CFO at 3Pillar Global, a digital product development company. Sperber will lead 3Pillar through further anticipated growth cycles in the coming years. He has been CFO for a variety of companies, including Class Valuation, TalentReef, NetDocuments and Accenture Mortgage Cadence, among others.

Michael J. Yates was named CFO at Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ: CLAR), a global company focused on the outdoor markets, effective Jan. 3. Yates has nearly 35 years of financial management, executive leadership, accounting and M&A experience and joins Clarus from IDEX Corporation. At IDEX, he held multiple accounting and financial executive leadership positions, including most recently serving as chief accounting officer, a role which he held since 2010. Other positions at IDEX included interim CFO and corporate controller. Prior to IDEX, Yates worked at PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG.

Overheard

“I suspect she may get five to seven years in prison.”

—Justin Paperny, founder of federal prison consultancy White Collar Advice, on Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, being found guilty of criminal fraud on Monday evening, as told to Fortune.

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