News & Politics

Washington Post Employees Will Need to Show They’re Vaxxed Before They Can Return to the Office

Photograph by Evy Mages

New employees of the Washington Post will be required to submit proof that they’ve had a coronavirus vaccine, Post publisher Fred Ryan told staffers in a memo Tuesday. And anyone who plans to spend any time in the Post office—current employees, guests, contractors—will have to show proof of vaccination as well. People with religious or medical reasons for not getting vaccinated will have to get in touch with HR. Employees are due back in the office for three days a week beginning September 13, Ryan writes, so “I urge you to move quickly to arrange for vaccination” if not already vaxxed.

Dear Washington Post colleagues,

First, let me again convey my gratitude and admiration for the exceptional job every team across The Washington Post has done during the Coronavirus pandemic. At a time when more readers from across the country and around the world have depended on us than ever before, The Post has risen to the challenge and played an essential role in the lives of so many people.

During this challenging time, our primary internal focus has been the health, safety and well-being of Post employees. In the initial stages of the pandemic, we were quick to shift out of our offices and to launch remote work. To help with the economic hardships the pandemic presented to Post employees and their families, we awarded two across-the-board spot bonuses and helped offset the cost of setting up a home office.

As we continue to review our office work environment and make enhancements to our facilities, we have begun a multi-stage return to our offices on a voluntary and vaccinated basis – all the while considering how we can design the optimal work model for our long-term future. On a personal note, it has been great to begin to personally reconnect with so many colleagues after more than a year apart and to observe the great collaborative environment that makes The Post such a special place.

To help safeguard the health and safety of Post employees, we recently adopted a position of requiring all new employees to provide proof of vaccination. In the many conversations I have had with Post employees across all departments, I have heard the genuine concerns they have for themselves and their families with new COVID variants emerging. Accordingly, our plan is to require all Washington Post employees to demonstrate proof of full COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment beginning with our September 13 office return. This will also apply to contractors and guests that wish to enter Post offices. Of course, we will provide accommodations for those with documented medical conditions and religious concerns.

Even though the overwhelming majority of Post employees have already provided proof of vaccination, I do not take this decision lightly. However, in considering the serious health issues and genuine safety concerns of so many Post employees, I believe the plan is the right one.

I realize you may have questions. Those with genuine medical and religious concerns will need to document them with our HR team as we have done over the years. Since our upcoming phase of return to the office for all employees at three days per week will be on September 13, I urge you to move quickly to arrange for vaccination or, if you cannot be vaccinated for medical or religious reasons, please reach out to our HR team.

As conditions evolve, we assure you that we will continue to take all necessary precautions to ensure the safest work environment possible.

Thank you for all you do to advance the essential mission of The Washington Post.

Warmest wishes to you and your family,

Fred.

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Senior editor

Andrew Beaujon joined Washingtonian in late 2014. He was previously with the Poynter Institute, TBD.com, and Washington City Paper. His book A Bigger Field Awaits Us: The Scottish Soccer Team That Fought the Great War was published in 2018. He lives in Del Ray.