These ASX 200 banks just made a decision that could affect 76,000 workers

What does the latest decision from Westpac and CBA mean for its employees?

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Woman in medical office getting an injection in the arm

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Friday is off to a good start for ASX 200 bank shares, as the S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) rides on the coattails of a strong US market overnight. Additionally, this comes after Westpac Banking Corp (ASX: WBC) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (ASX: CBA) introduced mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for all staff.

Out of the big four Aussie banks, the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd (ASX: ANZ) share price is faring the best on Friday. However, to the delight of investors, all of the big four are firmly in the green this morning.

Let’s take a closer look at the details of the recent vaccine development.

Banking on mandatory jabs

Much like many other industries in Australia and around the world, the banks have endured COVID-19 induced disruptions over the past 18 months. In fact, Westpac CEO Peter King mentioned the bank was forced to close and re-open more than 280 branches, in addition to 3,800 employees requiring isolation.

According to the release, the ASX 200 bank will expect all employees attending a Westpac workplace across New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT to be fully vaccinated by 1 December 2021. From there, the bank will give employees in other states until 1 February 2022 to be fully vaccinated.

In its reasoning, Westpac cited the need to provide a safe work environment. Commenting on this, CEO Peter King stated:

Like other essential services, banking has remained open during the pandemic to support customers through COVID and with their banking needs. With a large workforce, it is important that we have the safest possible work environment.

Meanwhile, CBA has also commenced consultation with its staff over its own compulsory vaccine campaign. According to ABC News, Australia’s biggest bank plans to require all its employees to be fully vaccinated at some stage. However, an official policy has not yet been made public.

At this stage, CBA has set deadline dates to be fully vaccinated on a state-by-state basis. These include 26 November for Victoria; 1 December for NSW and ACT; 24 December for the Northern Territory; and February next year for the remaining states.

In total, the plan for mandatory vaccines across the two ASX 200 banks will affect approximately 76,000 employees.

What about other ASX 200 banks?

Currently, Australia’s banks are in two minds on making vaccines mandatory for staff. Joining Westpac and CBA, the Bank of Queensland Ltd (ASX: BOQ) also revealed on Thursday it will be ensuring its employees are vaccinated. According to the bank, more than 90% are already vaccinated or have plans to do so.

On the other hand, National Australia Bank Ltd. (ASX: NAB) and ANZ are taking a more passive approach. While both banks have not specified that the jab will be mandatory, they are following state-based health advice. For Victoria, that means employees must be vaccinated if entering the workplace.

This follows earlier decisions from other ASX 200 companies on the jab. For example, Qantas Airways Limited (ASX: QAN) opted for mandatory vaccinations for its more than 2 million staff in September.

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Motley Fool contributor Mitchell Lawler owns shares of Commonwealth Bank of Australia. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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