EXCLUSIVE: SAG-AFTRA has adopted strict new guidelines for employers who may soon make Covid-19 vaccinations mandatory as a condition of employment. To date, vaccinations of casts and crews are not mandatory on film and TV productions under the industry’s return-to-work protocols, which expire June 30 and are currently being renegotiated by the major companies and Hollywood’s unions.
SAG-AFTRA’s national board of directors, meeting in special session Thursday, voted 75%-25% in favor of approving a motion that authorizes the union’s staff “to approve requests for mandatory vaccination policies in strict compliance with SAG-AFTRA’s standard parameters for mandatory vaccination policies.”
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Those parameters, established by the SAG-AFTRA President’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Safety, stipulate that:
- Production must announce such policies as soon as possible, preferably in initial breakdowns or earliest casting discussions.
- Such policies must apply equally to all cast and crew working in the relevant zone(s) or work location(s).
- Production must have procedures in place to engage in interactive process with those requesting ADA (Americans with Disability Act) or religious accommodations, and must include the procedure for initiating a request in notices of the vaccination policy.
- Such policies can only be enforced when vaccines have been readily available to performers for a sufficient period of time to confer immunity in time for start of work.
- If being vaccinated as a condition of employment for the production, any vaccination costs are absorbed by employer and vaccination time is work time.
- Vaccination records are maintained securely by employers and available only to those with need to know.
The original return-to-work agreement was brokered in September 2020 between management’s Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and Hollywood’s unions SAG-AFTRA, the DGA, IATSE, the Teamsters and the Basic Crafts. That was three months before the first Covid-19 vaccine was administered in the U.S.
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