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Salesforce to welcome vaccinated employees back to office

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April 12 (Reuters) - Salesforce.com said it would start allowing vaccinated employees to return to some of its offices, making it one of the first major U.S. corporations to give vaccinated workers preferential treatment over those who have not taken the shot.

Vaccinated employees will be able to volunteer to join groups of 100 or fewer people to work from its San Francisco headquarters and other offices, including Palo Alto and Irvine, the cloud-based software maker said on Monday.

It added that the offices would be equipped with onsite COVID-19 testing that would be mandated twice a week.

As the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines gathers pace, the debate around the use of vaccine passports has intensified, with rights experts warning that a push for identity proofs and digital certificates risks excluding poorer and more vulnerable groups. (https://reut.rs/3s8sg4I)

Many tech companies, including Microsoft Corp and Uber Technologies Inc, have started to reopen their office buildings months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced firms to adapt to working from home.

Some firms in other sectors have made vaccinations mandatory at the workplace.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holding Ltd said last week it would require all its crew and passengers to be vaccinated before it starts cruises again, hoping the move along with other safety measures will be enough for U.S. health authorities to lift a ban on sailings in July.

"In our Phased Reopening stage, offices will gradually reopen from 20% to 75% capacity," Salesforce said, adding that it would welcome both vaccinated and non-vaccinated employees then.

Salesforce, which opted for a hybrid or permanent remote-working model due to the pandemic, also said it would extend the option for employees to work from home through at least December.

(Reporting by Tiyashi Datta in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Uday Sampath; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel)