New protocols

MGM more than doubles cost for COVID-19 tests for unvaccinated employees

MGM CEO Bill Hornbuckle.
Reading time 1:27 min

MGM Resorts, one of the largest employers in Las Vegas, announced Tuesday a change in its COVID-19 testing protocols for unvaccinated employees. Starting November 22, MGM Resorts International will require unvaccinated hourly employees to pay $38 for each on-site COVID test, accounting for half of the cost the company pays, according to CEO Bill Hornbuckle’s letter addressed to employees. 

This new figure is up from the $15 co-pay charge from the company’s current policy announced in July. 

Workers can choose to get a PCR or lab-based antigen test elsewhere. However, self-testing kits will not be accepted. This policy does not affect employees who do not exclusively work from home. 

Those who do not comply with the new protocol will be placed on unpaid leave and will not be able to work, according to Hornbuckle’s letter, which also pointed out that this new policy will only affect a fraction of MGM workers in Las Vegas. Even though  84% of the company’s hourly workforce has been vaccinated, newly hired hourly workers are now required to get innoculated. 

“As I’ve stressed all year, if you’ve not yet been vaccinated, now’s the time. If you’ve not been vaccinated, please make a plan to protect yourself, your loved ones, our guests and your teammates from the virus”, the letter reads. 

This change in protocols came while the company reviewed the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration emergency order requiring private-sector employers with more than 100 employees to either mandate vaccines for staff or enact weekly testing requirements. Companies have until December 4 to finalize those policies. 

Vaccine mandate was implemented in MGM in October for its roughly 6,000 salaried workers nationwide, and 98% of those workers complied with the October 15 deadline. 

In a statement, the Culinary Local 226, which represent roughly 24,000 MGM employees in Las Vegas said the union “will remain vigilant to ensure workers are protected at work, are actively negotiating with gaming companies to have agreements which reflect those goals, and we continue to urge hospitality employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine as they are safe, proven and effective”. 

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