Dechert offers all staff paid leave for Covid-19 jab

Global law firm Dechert has announced it will give paid leave to all employees getting their Covid-19 (Coronavirus) vaccination.

The decision, circulated in an internal memo, revealed that staff can book up to eight hours off to get their jabs or use this time off if they have short-term side effects. The hours do not have to be taken all at once, but can be booked in increments through the company’s Workday system.

In the memo, the law firm’s chair Andy Levander and CEO Henry Nassau told staff: “We understand the pressures the past year has placed on everyone, and we are thankful there is hopefully an end in sight.”

They added: “To help, Dechert will provide up to eight additional hours of paid time off in order for you to get your vaccines. The time may be taken in increments to best meet your needs and subject to time reporting processes in your location.”

In Belgium and in some US states employers are required by law to give their staff time off to receive their vaccinations therefore, according to a Dechert spokesperson, the decision was taken to widen this out globally, “so all of our people can have paid leave to get their vaccines”.

Alison Bernard, Dechert’s chief talent and human resources officer, said: “We support our people, and giving paid time off to get vaccinated is just one example of how we are striving to make life easier for our community.”

She added: “We hope that by giving paid time off, it simplifies the vaccine process so our people don’t have to worry about appointments that are during work hours.”

The issue of paid leave for vaccines has been one that has been raging over the past few weeks, as age-groups of those typically at work now enter the vaccination programme roll-out.

Several companies – including Stena – have been criticised for not offering paid sick leave – or offering statutory sick pay only – for those who suffer side effects. It is reported that side effects typically impact one in 10 of those that receive their jabs.

In February, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) urged all employers to give their workforce paid time off to attend their vaccination appointments.

Although it is not compulsory to offer staff time off to have their jabs, Acas chief executive Susan Clews said: “Employers should support staff in getting the Coronavirus vaccine once it is offered to them.”

In the memo to staff, Dechert also said it hoped colleagues would be able to mix with each other soon.It stated: “Office openings will be a gradual and thoughtful process and will be specific to each individual location, but we know many of you are looking forward to meeting again with friends, clients and colleagues. We look forward to welcoming you into the office on a voluntary basis as local restrictions are lifted.”