Google says unvaccinated employees will lose pay, eventually be fired

Google has told employees they must get vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 18 or face a series of escalating consequences that will include pay deductions and the eventual loss of their jobs, according to an internal memo to staff obtained by CNBC.

A memo said the company would contact employees who hadn't declared their vaccination status and uploaded proof of vaccination - or applied for an exemption on medical or religious grounds - by Dec. 3.

Unvaccinated employees who don't comply by Jan. 18 would be put on paid administrative leave for 30 days, following which the company would put them on unpaid personal leave for up to six months. Employees who still refused to be vaccinated would then be terminated.

The memo also added that "anyone entering a Google building must be fully vaccinated or have an approved accommodation that allows them to work or come onsite."

It has also made it clear that it will not consider testing for COVID-19 regularly as an alternative to the vaccine.

"Frequent testing is not a valid alternative to vaccination," the memo added per CNBC.

"As we've stated before, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways we can keep our workforce safe and keep our services running," a Google spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.

"We're committed to doing everything possible to help our employees who can get vaccinated do so, and firmly stand behind our vaccination policy," the statement added.

Google's memo comes despite a federal judge temporarily blocking President Biden's vaccine mandate for large businesses, which would have gone into effect Jan. 18.

Google announced in July that employees must be fully vaccinated to return to the office. The company had planned to require employees to come back a least a few days a week but in December pushed back its planned return to the office amid a fresh surge of cases. It is, however, allowing vaccinated employees to come in.