A Quick Look at the Businesses Sector in 2020
When the first case of Coronavirus was recorded in Saudi Arabia on March 2, 2020, the public started to experience anxiety.
During those times, the Kingdom’s labor sector was forced to make a rapid and drastic shift in its course of action, which most businesses were unprepared to handle, such as switching to remote work or reducing working hours, finding suitable ways to connect with customers, and attempting to maintain market share amid difficulties and failures for the dimensions of this economic and health crisis.
As a result, several businesses have abandoned policies relating to annual raises, recruitment, and privileges. According to a study published by the “International Labor Organization” of the United Nations, this crisis has resulted in the loss of more than 225 million jobs worldwide!
Impact of the Corona Vaccine Availability in the Kingdom
Since the announcement of the Corona vaccine campaign in the Kingdom on December 17, 2020, expectations and hopes have risen for a return to the pre-crisis work regime.
Now, after nearly 5 months of registration for vaccination, many businesses have resorted to strategies that enable society, and especially employees, to speed up registration in order to receive the vaccine as soon as possible. The techniques include:
- Time off for those who receive the vaccine
- Permission to receive the vaccine during working hours
- Preventing unvaccinated employees from congregating in the workplace
- Stressing the importance of wearing a mask.
- Download the “Tawakalna” application and stay updated with the government’s recommendations for self-prevention and management of COVID-19.
This is to remind employees about their public responsibility to carry out their jobs in a safe and healthy environment, particularly as many reports have indicated that businesses without a clear plan to encourage their employees to receive the vaccine would have a lower chance of recovering from the effects of the economic crises than those who adopt a clear and organized plan to receiving the vaccine.
Our Vision and Aspirations for the Business Sector Following the COVID-19 Pandemic
After the business sector was faced with the challenge of adapting to the difficulties of completing the workflow as required due to the lockdown, this experience was crucial to future change in several aspects:
The needs of the labor market shifted from all sides after the Corona crisis, ranging from the cadres, customers, to partners etc., resulting in high competition on all levels.
Investors and entrepreneurs were among the first segments of society to be on the lookout for all of the economic impacts of the pandemic and financial recovery strategies.
This led the market focus to shift to competencies and agile powers, such as financial technology and digital technology to provide a way forward to rapid economic recovery soon.
Consumer behavior and the attention to digital markets have also been impacted by the economic and health crisis.
Without a question, these changes revealed a different buying style among consumers, indicating a high level of knowledge and recourse to saving and investment.
The most visible repercussion of the crisis may be the massive digital transition in all industries, as well as attention to the long-term viability of digital services and credits, especially given the difficulty of doing business in person at the time, and meeting customer needs in a way that ensures work continuity and customer base expansion.
Currently, decisions are being made to encourage all people and residents to register for vaccination, making the prospect of enforcing limitations on those who have not received the vaccine very possible, particularly as a number of ministries, like health and education, have released plans and efforts to ensure that all of their employees are vaccinated by the end of the year.
Employee Vaccination Programs Adopted in the Kingdom
More than 7 million doses have been distributed in the Kingdom as a result of the Ministry of Health’s efforts, as well as promotional campaigns in workplaces and institutions.
To improve and increase health precautions, the Kingdom has implemented more than 140 procedures
However, is it necessary to implement policies encouraging employees to get the Corona vaccine?
Yes, without a doubt
A healthy and safe work environment is a critical component of resuming dynamic work, as it provides an incentive to support business engagement and presence. Indeed, due to the seriousness of the pandemic, many businesses and organizations, such as “Pimlico Plumbers”, have made it mandatory for new employees to be vaccinated, with the slogan “No work without Vaccinate!” prominently displayed
After the outbreak, numerous steps have been implemented to ensure the safety of employees and customers, including:
- Job interviews, meetings, and conferences can all be conducted online instead of in person.
- Stop using paper archives and start using digital copies instead.
- Reducing the number of employees in each department.
Even if these steps are in the best interests of human safety, their effect on global and local businesses and markets cannot be overlooked, especially because a complete dependence on digital copies puts company privacy at risk of breach and data leakage.
Many executives in the United States are passionate about incentivizing their employees to get vaccinated, whether by paid time off or other means.
“Lidl Stores”, for example, rewards employees who have completed two doses of the Corona vaccine with $ 200, while “Instacart” rewards them with a $ 25 salary bonus.
IHCs Initiatives to Encourage Staff to Get Vaccinated
On its part, IHC developed a straightforward plan to motivate its employees to get vaccinated, which is aimed to guarantee their safety within the company’s headquarters, through awareness, support, and internal campaigns to provide a healthy and safe work environment.
We carried out a series of promotional steps on World Health Day, April 7, 2021, beginning with mail messages and leaflets over the course of a week, and replacing the strips of identity cards with specific colors to match the Ministry of Health’s campaigns that are urging the reception of the vaccine.
This experiment paved the way for more research into the reasons why employees are avoiding or rejecting vaccine doses, whether due to beliefs or health reasons.
The Impact of the Vaccination Requirement on the Business World
Many reports in this area confirm the commitment of certain ministries and corporations to enforce the need for companies to encourage their employees to take the vaccines, but at the same time this makes directors and decision-makers vulnerable to legal complaints from some employees who may refuse to receive the Corona vaccine, either for health reasons or because they are not sure of the vaccine’s effectiveness.
According to the findings of a survey conducted by the” Chartered Management Institute” of a thousand directors of companies in the United Kingdom, 58%of them believe that employees who refuse to receive the vaccine should be barred from entering to workplaces, especially those who refuse vaccination without a clear medical reason and should start adopting mandatory vaccination.
During this time, the “World Health Organization” has expressed its concern about the spread of a new wave in the Middle East during the month of Ramadan, increasing the possibility of a new spiral of the pandemic.
Is Mandating Vaccination a Viable Option?
On the one hand, It is lawful to compel employees in the workplace to receive the vaccine, and to fire those who refuse, if those employees’ presence is deemed a threat to the others since it is within the manager’s rights. However, compelling them to do so could expose the director to a slew of legal claims if the employee is subjected to some risky health symptom as a result of receiving the vaccine.
As the number of the serious cases continues to change, coupled with limitations on movement and travel, it has become important to prepare emergency plans In the event that the work of those who did not receive the vaccine was restricted.
Insurance Options Directors and Officers Should Consider:
Directors and officers liability insurance (D&O)
Following the availability of the vaccine, as well as changes in requirements and restrictions imposed at the level of companies and staff in all industries, the number of legal claims against directors and officers has increased, particularly because the majority of the decisions that are issued do not have exceptions.
In the Kingdom, in particular, it is a valid and lawful matter to file a legal case against any company or institution that did not take any steps or any precautionary measures for the safety and health of employees and workers.
Since the director is the first interface of the company and its decisions, deciding to buy a “Directors and officers liability insurance” is critical in order to defend against any professional or financial disruptions caused by the legal claims.
At IHC, we remind you that the Directors and Officers Liability Insurance policy does not cover bodily harm or non-compliance with laws!