Coke offers $2,000 to employees who follow new vaccination requirement

ORIGINAL CAPTION: November 28, 2014 Atlanta - Picture shows Coca-Cola Company Headquarters in Atlanta on Friday, November 28, 2014. Coca-Cola reported $233 million in tax breaks in 2011-2013 - almost 15% of its federal tax bill - related to giving its management stock options and restricted stock. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
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Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. has told its U.S. employees the company must comply with new vaccination requirements set for all federal contractors. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM

Credit: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com

Coca-Cola has told its U.S. employees the company must comply with new COVID-19 vaccination requirements for federal contractors.

But the Atlanta-based beverage giant is offering a carrot: $2,000 one-time bonuses to each fully vaccinated staffer as well as those who receive medical or religious exemptions by the government’s Dec. 8 deadline.

Coke said it sells and markets beverages in national parks, museums, government building cafeterias and U.S. military bases. A company spokesman declined to comment on how much of Coke’s business is tied to the federal government or what will happen to employees who refuse to comply.

On Friday, Coke notified employees that it is “partnering with employees to comply and recognizing medical and religious exemptions in line with the law. If for any unforeseen reasons, employees are unable to meet the December 8 timeframe, they have the ability to contact their HR partners.”

It is not clear what percentage of the company’s 8,500 U.S. employees — about 4,000 of whom are in metro Atlanta — are vaccinated.

The new requirement of U.S. government contractors is expected to cover millions of workers and was announced in September.

The measure is tighter than another mandated by President Joe Biden requiring that all companies with 100 or more employees ensure their workforce is fully vaccinated or passes weekly COVID-19 tests before coming to work. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is developing that broader rule.

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