As you may have heard, the deadline is fast approaching for all care workers (working in care homes) to have evidenced either their full vaccination status or that they are medically exempt from the vaccination for Covid-19.
The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021 (‘the Regulations’) have placed care home owner’s and manager’s in the unenviable position of having to inform their staff, that unless they can evidence either of the above, they will not be permitted to enter the care home from 11 November 2021, meaning that staff will need to have received their first vaccination by 16 September 2021 at the latest.
The Regulations are controversial and have not been well received by many working in care homes who feel that they should have a choice over whether to receive the vaccine or not, without the threat of loss of employment. Of course, it is open for care home owners to place their unvaccinated staff on unpaid leave, but not only is this likely to be challenged by those staff, it does not resolve the issue. The staff will continue to accrue holiday pay, and the care homes may have difficulty recruiting for what can only be described as temporary vacancies. Furthermore, and even if the staff on unpaid leave have not resigned and issued claims for unfair constructive dismissal, those staff will still be employed by the care home and the issue remains unresolved.
While it is true that the Regulations are being challenged, as at today’s date, the Regulations are legally enforceable and the consequences of not complying could be devastating for care home owners. In these circumstances, care homes throughout the Country are effectively being forced to dismiss hardworking and valued staff when recruitment is already a concern and they still face the risk of claims from the staff who have been dismissed!
If you run or manage a care home and require support in this regard please do contact James Twine on 01752 292351 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. James is currently guiding a number of local care homes through these murky waters but does have a strategy in place for care homes to employ.
Partner, Solicitor, Head of Business Services