PORTAGE, Mich. — Employees at Pfizer’s U.S. based facilities could soon lose their jobs if they aren’t fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and some hourly employees will soon see changes to their pay structure.
According to an internal memo obtained by News Channel 3, all U.S.-based employees and contractors must be fully vaccinated against the virus by November 15 unless they have a religious or medical exemption.
According to the September 21 memo from Nicole Shaffer, Senior Director of Colleague Wellness at Pfizer, employees who aren’t vaccinated or don’t have an exemption are subject to disciplinary action, including termination.
Under previous policy unvaccinated employees had to undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
A Pfizer spokesperson said an overwhelming majority of staff members have already been vaccinated, adding the November 15 deadline doesn’t mean there will be mass firings that day.
A second memo, emailed to employees October 4, outlines changes to overtime pay that employees say will likely cost them thousands of dollars.
According to the memo, starting January 1, Pfizer is eliminating 6th and 7th day pay practice at the company’s facilities in Portage and Franklin, Ohio.
Employees tell News Channel 3 that under the policy employees who work irregular work schedules covering weekends still qualify for premium pay despite not working more than 40 hours. This, they said, made up for not spending the weekend with their families.
The Pfizer spokesperson says the change is being made to bring all facilities in the U.S. under the same policy where only hours worked count for overtime pay, adding no one’s pay rate is being reduced.
A “frequently asked questions” page attached to the email addressed potential concerns about the change.
One question asked, “This change is going to impact my pay. Is Pfizer going to compensate me for this change?”
The answer said, “Overtime is not a guaranteed benefit. It is driven solely by business need and thus should not be considered ‘guaranteed compensation’.”
One employee, who asked to remain anonymous due to avoid retribution from the company, told News Channel 3 the changes will cost him about $1,000 every four weeks, the equivalent of about $13,000 a year.
According to the memo from Pfizer, the changes were made “in the spirit of Pfizer’s value of equity”.
The employee said, “usually when talking about equality you give everyone the same benefits not take them away from a certain group of people.”
Pfizer earnings reports showed the company’s year-over-year revenues jumped 92% in the second quarter 2021.