As law firms escalate preparations for a return to in-person work, at least two global firms are providing as much as a full day of paid leave for personnel to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Leaders at Dechert on Thursday informed lawyers and professional staff worldwide that the firm would provide up to eight hours of paid time off to facilitate shots. And Norton Rose Fulbright’s U.S. personnel will also be entitled to the same.
“Health and safety is a priority for us, so we are giving our people up to eight hours of paid time off to get their COVID-19 vaccinations,” Norton Rose U.S. managing partner Jeff Cody said in a statement.
A spokesperson for the firm did not respond to an inquiry about whether the policy was in effect worldwide.
Dechert CEO Henry Nassau and policy committee chair Andy Levander put the vaccine news in the context of a wider update about the firm’s plans for returning to the office.
“The widening availability of vaccines, along with the improving overall trends in COVID-19 cases, have us optimistic that we’ll be able to start getting together in person again soon,” the pair said. “This 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.”
They announced that Dechert had convened a committee to start evaluating what the firm’s workplace procedures will look like in a post-pandemic world. And they also promised personnel that no schedules or expectations would change without 60 days advanced notice.
“We look forward to being together, but your health, safety and well-being remain our top priorities,” Levander and Nassau added in the email.
A Dechert spokesperson added that the firm believed that certain U.S. states as well as Belgium, where the firm has an office, have mandated paid time off for vaccinations, and the firm opted to make the approach universal.
Hogan Lovells has told U.S. personnel that if they have an appointment, they don’t need to take PTO to receive a vaccine, according to a spokesperson. And Robinson & Cole also said Friday that staff members will not be expected to take existing paid leave during business hours to receive shots, and can avail themselves of four hours additional leave in New York and two hours in its offices in other states.
Other firms are still navigating their procedures and expectations with regard to vaccines. Davis Wright Tremaine announced in January that it would require vaccinations for returning attorneys, but it has remained an outlier. Other leaders, including DLA Piper’s Frank Ryan and Winston & Strawn’s Tom Fitzgerald, have emphasized encouraging vaccinations, but Fitzgerald said that he hadn’t ruled out making them mandatory.