Citigroup, BNP Paribas target return to offices from February 7

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Citigroup, BNP Paribas target return to offices from February 7

NEW YORK -- Citigroup C.N has told staff in the New York Tri-State area to return to office from Feb. 7, while BNP Paribas BNPP.PA is targeting the same date for U.S. staff after recently postponing its return-to- office plans by nearly a month due to the Omicron variant.

Wall Street firms were among the first to encourage staff to return to offices, but a winter wave of COVID 19 infections caused by Omicron forced many to review their vaccination policies in recent weeks.

With what happened with Omicron, we wanted to go back into a more conservative mode. Kevin Abraszek, head of HR change and transformation at BNP Paribas in New York, said that we don't have people in the office if there's a business critical need for them to be in.

Citigroup sent staff at its New York metro area office home in mid-December as Omicron spread, but it asked staff to prepare for a return to the office starting on February 7, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Friday.

The bank will continue to monitor the data, even though return-to- office plans are still on pause in other locations. Staff will be in the office for at least two days a week, as was its policy before the holidays.

Citigroup said this month that U.S. employees who hadn't been vaccinated against COVID by Jan. 14 would be placed on unpaid leave and fired at the end of the month unless they were granted an exemption and accommodation.

BNP Paribas, a company that employs more than 14,000 people in the United States, will expect US employees to work at least one day a week once they return, similar to its policy last year before Omicron struck.

A bank spokeswoman said the return to office policy was only applied for investment banking employees, not for employees of BNP Paribas' U.S. retail arm, Bank of the West.

Abraszek said that the bank was allowing employees who have not been vaccinated to work from home, despite the fact that COVID 19 was a requirement to be in the office.

He said that we're going to look at that decision and that policy in the early part of this year.

Once employees start to return, the bank plans to bring back up to 50% of their capacity, according to Abraszek.

He said that we were generally skewing around 25% to 30% late last year. We'll probably reach that level, and our hope is that we'll get closer to that 50% over the course of the spring and certainly into the summer. Goldman Sachs Group Inc GS.N recently delayed its return-to-office date from Jan. 18 to Feb. 1.