Ford Motor said Thursday it is delaying plans for salaried workers to begin returning to offices in late June until September.
It said the move is to ensure that Ford has enough personal protection equipment for workers and time to modify facilities to allow for proper social distancing protocols to reduce the spread of Covid-19.
"The health and safety of our workforce continues to be our first priority and we want to ensure we have sufficient PPE for all of our place dependent workforce who have already returned, as well as the proper supply for those who would be returning later this summer," the company said in an emailed statement Thursday.
Ford announced plans in April for its white-collar employees in the U.S. to begin returning to work in late June and early July. The company had about 190,000 employees globally at the end of last year, including about 100,000 who have already returned to work based on location and job requirements. About 12,000 of its 36,000 salaried nonmanufacturing employees have returned to work in the U.S., a spokesman said Thursday.
Ford's 56,000 hourly U.S. employees started returning to work in mid-May. Limited North American production began on May 18. Ford's plants continue to gradually add shifts and production.
Production workers returned to work with significant safety protocols and procedures in place to assist in detecting infected employees and slowing the spread of the disease.
Measures included extensive cleaning, mandatory face masks and in some cases, face shields. Employees will need to clear health assessment and temperature checks, including thermal body scanners, when entering the building. Ford is also redesigning workplaces to allow for social distancing where possible.