Mandatory Covid-19 Vaccinations For Care Home Workers
Government confirms most people working in care homes will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Following consultation, the UK government have confirmed that vaccinations will become mandatory for most care home workers. Amendments will be made to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/2936). The requirement is likely to extend beyond care home staff and volunteers, and will include all people entering a care home building regardless of their role, including health professionals, beauticians, hairdressers, tradespeople and Care Quality Commission inspectors. Proof will need to be provided by anyone who is required to have been vaccinated, to evidence full vaccinations have been given. There will be people exempt from the rule, these to include residents, family and friends of residents, anyone who is otherwise medically exempt, those assisting with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work, those under the age of 18 and anyone working in the external grounds of the care home only. The change is likely to be in place from October 2021, although is subject to Parliamentary approval. There will also be a 16 week grace period before the requirement comes into play.
On a practical level, this means care home staff and other employees who are required to be vaccinated under the new rules, but refuse to do so, could find themselves dismissed from their employment unless they fit into the excepted category of people. If a dismissal becomes necessary in these circumstances there will still be the usual requirements for employers to act reasonably in making the decision to dismiss, to follow reasonable and appropriate procedures, and to also look around for suitable alternative employment before making a dismissal decision. Care home businesses are encouraged to have open dialogue with their staff in readiness for the new rules being introduced (subject to passing Parliamentary approval) and any staff to whom the new rule is applicable and who have concerns, should speak to their employer.
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