Ford postpones return to service program until March due to omicron option

Ford Motor Company World Headquarters, Dearborn, Michigan, January 19, 2021.

Aaron J. Thornton | Getty Images

DETROIT – Ford Motor is again postponing a hybrid return-to-work plan for salaried employees until March amid fears of rising Covid-19 cases in its home state of Michigan and uncertainty over the omicron option.

The automaker told employees on Monday that it now plans to begin a pilot phase for select employees in February and March, followed by a full rollout of the program, which was originally announced in March 2021. Ford previously said it would not return to work on a hybrid working model until January, which has already been delayed at least twice.

“The state of the COVID-19 virus remains volatile, and despite the success of our current safety protocols and an increase in vaccinations, we are pushing the start date of the hybrid operating model to March,” the company said in a statement.

Ford’s delay comes just days after Google said it would not require its employees to return to the office in January as planned, saying it will wait until the new year to assess when US offices can safely return to ” stable, long-term working environment. ” “

Of Ford’s 184,000 employees, mostly in manufacturing, between 120,000 and 130,000 have already returned to work. The company’s 56,000 hourly U.S. employees, represented by United Auto Workers, began returning to work in May 2020 after Detroit automakers were forced to close factories for weeks at the onset of the pandemic.

The Ford Hybrid Work Program is a combination of onsite and telecommuting for employees who do not need to be physically present to work.

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