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Corporate vaccine mandates are thorny topics, but in the U.S. this type of restriction may just become policy as airlines wrestle with their own workforce policies.

Investment bank JP Morgan Chase & Co has said it will require U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 if they want to travel on business, according to reports.

The move isn’t quite as extensive as airlines mandating vaccines for their workforces, for example, but may trigger other companies to follow suit — a trend that would set back the timeline for an already fragile corporate travel sector recovery even further.

JP Morgan will also require staff to be tested twice a week, according to the report, and they would need to contribute a greater proportion of their salary to medical insurance to compensate.

The bank will also require proof of vaccination from employees participating in client events in-person, Reuters added. New starters in client-facing roles or those required to travel for business must also be vaccinated.

It’s likely to become a sign of the times.

Airline leaders at the International Air Transport Association’s Annual General Meeting ruled out mandating vaccines for passengers, but seemed to be in broad agreement that things were heading in that direction.

“Slowly we’ll get there — that flying will only be available to vaccinated or recovered passengers,” said Lufthansa Group CEO Carsten Spohr.

JP Morgan is not mandating vaccines, in line with Bank of America and Wells Fargo, but with this kind of policy it may end up with a head start should the U.S. ultimately introduce a Covid-19 vaccination mandate for airline passengers.

However, this type of corporate vaccine clampdown would unlikely work across the atlantic, according to one expert.

“The banking sector is known for pretty aggressive employee relations, and the U.S. lacks some of the privacy controls that exist in Europe, so in many ways this is no surprise,” said Chris Pouney of Severnside Consulting.

“But I would be surprised to see this replicated across Europe given the legally embedded controls and privacy around medical conditions and status,” he added.

The JP Morgan mandate also highlights how governments should take a lead on vaccine regulations, rather than allow businesses to wade into such a highly sensitive, and political, subject — a point that was also argued by airline CEOs at IATA’s gathering in Boston on Monday.

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Tags: business travel, coronavirus, corporate travel, covid, Covid vaccine, jp morgan chase, travel management

Photo credit: Investment bank JP Morgan Chase & Co has said it will require U.S.-based employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19 if they want to travel on business. Guilhem Vellut / Flickr

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