Google will require staff to be vaccinated against Covid-19 before allowing them to return to its offices.

However, the company has declined to say if or when the policy would apply to its Irish-based workforce.

In an email to staff, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said it would require US workers returning to its campuses in the coming weeks to be vaccinated, with the policy expanding "to other regions in the coming months".

A spokesperson for Google Ireland said they had nothing specific to add to the plan, but highlighted that the email also made clear the policy would "vary according to local conditions and regulations" and would not apply until vaccines were widely available in each location.

"You'll get guidance from your local leads about how this will affect you, and we'll also share more details on an exceptions process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other protected reasons," Mr Pichai’s message said.

Facebook put out similar word yesterday, saying that as its offices reopen, only vaccinated workers will be welcomed.

"We will be requiring anyone coming to work at any of our US campuses to be vaccinated," Facebook vice president of people Lori Goler said in response to a query from AFP.

"We will have a process for those who cannot be vaccinated for medical or other reasons and will be evaluating our approach in other regions as the situation evolves."

Employers in Ireland cannot require staff to be vaccinated but Government guidelines suggest they can redeploy an unvaccinated worker to a different task if deemed necessary.

Employers' group Ibec has previously sought further guidance from Government around the handling of unvaccinated staff.

Google had previously announced plans to scale up its offices to 30% of their capacity by the end of September.

But in his latest letter to staff, Mr Pichai also says its work-from-home policy would now be extended to 18 October.

He said the company would watch the data around Covid-19 closely, and would give staff at least 30 days notice before moving to its full return-to-office plan.

"For those of you with special circumstances, we will soon be sharing expanded temporary work options that will allow you to apply to work from home through the end of 2021," he added.

Apple also recently pushed its return-to-office target back to October. It wants staff from that point to spend at least three days a week in-office, a rule that has been met with some internal opposition.

Meanwhile, Facebook last month set a target of having most of its US offices at 50% capacity from September, however it has also given some staff the option of working remotely on a permanent basis if their job allows and they wish to do so.

Additional reporting AFP