Mandatory vaccination in the care sector – will there be others?

All staff employed directly by the care home provider, those employed by an agency, and any volunteers in the care home will fall in scope for mandatory vaccination. It also includes those providing direct care and those undertaking ancillary roles such as cleaners and kitchen staff.

Under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers are required to take reasonable steps to reduce any workplace risks; this obligation gives employers justification for encouraging their employees to be vaccinated to protect themselves and everyone else at the workplace. COVID-19 is also a reportable disease under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (known as RIDDOR) which strengthens employers’ encouragement that employees should agree to vaccination. Are you fully compliant with your H&S policies, procedures and risk assessments?

It was suggested that there will be a 16-week period in which individual care home workers will be encouraged to have a vaccination. As an employer, what can you do to support your employees through this time?

Do you have a vaccination policy? Developing (or updating) a policy on vaccination allows you to outline your company’s stance on vaccination and explain the role of any expectations on mangers, HR and employees. It also allows you to confirm your position on employees who can’t have the vaccine on medical grounds and could therefore be protected by the disability provisions within the Equality Act 2010 if they refuse the vaccine.

If you are an agency providing staff to the care sector, what are your obligations if you are collecting data on candidate vaccination status? Have you got a vaccination policy?

In the care sector, vaccination is of even greater importance to employers. Hence the government’s potential intervention. Therefore care homeowners may have to consider a dismissal process as a last resort, especially if they are unable to find alternative work for individuals who refuse vaccination and other efforts at encouraging employees to be vaccinated are unsuccessful.

We can help you develop your policy, communicate with your employees and comply with any new legislation in the way that respects the needs of your managers, employees and residents.

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Jana Rackley

HR Operations Director of WeDo HR Support.

Give us a buzz: 0330 900 8787