Two of Canada’s largest banks are delaying the return of most of their employees to offices until at least June as public-health officials continue to impose strict measures in some regions to control the novel coronavirus.
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce said in a memo to staff Monday that most employees working remotely will not return until the end of June at the earliest. And a spokesperson said Bank of Montreal won’t make any broad changes to remote-work policies before the school year is over.
Both banks said their approach is informed by evolving public-health guidance. Starting this week, CIBC will survey staff to refine its return-to-office plans, Sandy Sharman, CIBC’s group head of people, culture and brand, said in the memo.
Last November, CIBC and BMO each told their employees that most people working remotely could expect to do so until at least April. The banks have also promised to give at least four weeks’ notice before staff must come back to the office.
Since then, COVID-19 cases surged again in some regions of Canada, and there have been 19,873 new cases reported in the past seven days. Multiple vaccines have been approved, but inoculation programs have gotten off to a slow start, with just five doses administered for every 100 people in the country so far.
“We are no longer working towards an April time frame for returning to the office and don’t foresee any broad-based changes for employees currently working remotely before the end of the school year, unless a specific business need exists,” spokesperson Jeff Roman said in an e-mailed statement.
Though bank branches, some call centres and data centres still require staff to work on-site, about 70 per cent of CIBC’s almost 44,000 employees have been working remotely. And more than 90 per cent of BMO’s non-branch staff have the ability to work remotely, according to company disclosures.
Both banks have promised employees paid time off work to get vaccinated.
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