Do you want to require your employees be vaccinated? Is this a new interview question? How will you respond when a client asks if everyone you’re sending to the meeting has been vaccinated?

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan from Agency Management Institute, this week coming to you from The Bahamas. You know, COVID has changed a lot about how we think about the way we work and the way we interact with our employees, but one of the things that we’re all going to have to decide and it’s going to be very individualistic for every agency is, what is your vaccine policy? Are you going to require a vaccine to be employed at your agency? Are you going to require a vaccine if your client facing or if they’re only in the office? Are you going to disclose when a client says, “I know you’re sending people to the shoot or to our office,” or whatever, “have they all been vaccinated?” Are you going to be in a position to say yes or no? All of a sudden, this is not something we’ve ever had to do before. There’s never been a worldwide pandemic where we’ve all been exposed at some point in time to a disease as deadly as COVID. And so we have to know that just like it changed the way we worked for the last year when we were working from home and just like it’s changing how some of you are feeling about remote employees, we now are going to end up getting a little more into our employees’ health issues or health decisions than we ever have before. And legally, you have every right, by the way, to require a vaccine. There are certainly some exceptions to the rule. People can opt out for religious reasons, people can opt out if the vaccine is actually going to put them at a health risk but for the most part, you do have the right to require a vaccine if you decide to do that. You also have the right to ask which employees have and haven’t been vaccinated and make hiring decisions based on that as well. Also, deciding who’s going to be on what team. This is a team that spends a lot of time at the client’s office, or we’re going to embed an employee inside a client’s office, or this is a job that honestly these people are remote anyway and so they don’t hardly ever see the team but they do come in once a quarter for our team meetings. These are all things that we’re going to have to sort out and for each of us, the answer is going to be a little different but what I’m telling you is the one option you don’t have is to not have a plan and a policy. You need to decide how important is it to you that everyone be vaccinated, what you’re going to require, what you’re going to request, what questions you’re going to ask and how that’s going to impact the way you staff client accounts or who you send out on a shoot or anything like that. No one’s saying it yet but I suspect that we’ll all be getting COVID vaccines once a year like we do flu vaccines, so maybe the heightened awareness and the heightened worry about this becomes less over time. But I think for the next year or two, as people are choosing for the first time to get vaccinated or not, I think this is an issue that you’re going to have to have a policy around and know how you want to handle it. So give that some thought and decide for yourself and your agency what’s best and odds are you need to add it to your employee handbook and you may want to run it by your HR lawyer or someone like that if what you think you’re doing is out of the bounds. But from everything I’ve read, we are allowed to require, with some exceptions, our employees to get a vaccine and we are allowed to ask whether or not people have gotten a vaccine, whether they’re our employee or they’re a candidate for a job. Hopefully that was helpful, hopefully that gets you thinking a little bit because we got to be prepared for this stuff. All right, I’ll see you next week.

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