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No vaccination mandates in adland: here are the holding companies’ vaccination policies

Proof of vaccination may not be required in ad agency offices

US companies can force employees to get vaccinated, according to legal experts. This begs the question: will agency holding companies issue a mandate requiring employees to receive a Covid-19 shot before returning to work? Here is what each of the five major holding companies had to say.

Vaccination rates are accelerating. More than half of the US, two-thirds of the UK and 12% of the world overall have received at least one dose of the vaccine. In the US, Covid-19 shots are readily available. Yet the vaccine is being outright refused by a significant portion of the population.

Given that US employers can legally force employees to get vaccinated, The Drum asked the major holding companies what their policies will be moving forward. We also asked what guidance they are providing globally as well as in the US. Here are the statements from each:

WPP

“We fully support the global vaccination effort and encourage our people to take the opportunity to be vaccinated by providing flexibility in working hours to do so, but at the current time we are not planning to mandate vaccinations.”

Publicis

“Both the office and remote work will each play a distinct and important role in the future of work at Publicis Groupe. As the reach of the Covid-19 vaccine grows, and restrictions continue to ease in many parts of the US, we are closely monitoring federal and state guidance and regulations to inform our plans to enable a safe and positive experience for everyone, now and for the future.

“In the US we will view the summer as a transition period, allowing our employees to begin to incorporate the office experience in a way that meets their needs. Employees will be required to complete safety training on [its internal platform] Marcel before their first day back, and we will continue to require daily health questionnaires be completed before entering a building. We have encouraged employees to take advantage of the vaccine when it is available to them. At this time, a vaccine is not required to access an office.

“We hope to enable a hybrid working model after Labor Day. Given the nature of our work and working styles is highly diverse, flexibility is key.”

Omnicom

Omnicom has outlined a detailed five-stage reopening plan. In terms of vaccinations it states: “We are encouraging employees to return to the office. For example, in the US, with few exceptions, we find ourselves in Stage 3. In Stage 3, employees in the US that are vaccinated are encouraged to return to the office and should schedule days for on-site work with their managers. In addition, in Stage 3, we are asking managers in the US to invite people on their teams that are vaccinated back to the office for scheduled meetings, lunches, etc. If you are in a Stage 3 US city, have not been vaccinated, and have been asked to return to the office, please contact your human resources manager.”

A spokesperson adds: “In addition, we are encouraging and helping our employees get vaccinated where there is a role for the private sector. For example, in India, our agencies are working with third-party providers to get vaccinations to their employees or help them access vaccinations through their healthcare providers.”

IPG

“We are encouraging our people to be vaccinated. Parts of our organization are conducting surveys to track vaccination rates among employees in different markets, and many IPG agencies have hosted sessions with healthcare professionals for our employees to ask questions about the vaccination process and the science behind the vaccines. In some markets, we are also helping provide access to vaccines for employees. Here’s an example from India.

Dentsu

“Dentsu International respects that it is an individual’s choice to have a Covid-19 vaccination, based on their own personal circumstances. We are encouraging our people to make well-informed decisions about their own health, and we are supporting our teams with the required flexibility and paid time off for vaccination appointments and any associated recovery time. The safety and wellbeing of our people is our priority, and we will continue to follow government guidelines and best practices. We look forward to making office spaces available for collaboration again.”

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