Staff must be vaccinated to work in care homes says Whatley
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Care home staff will be legally required to be vaccinated in order to work in care homes from November 11. The new rules are designed to protect vulnerable residents from coronavirus. Express.co.uk has spoken to the legal experts to find out if any exemptions apply and your rights as an employee.
Under new rules, anyone working in CQC-registered care homes will need to be vaccinated with two doses of the COVID-19 jab.
Faye Reynolds, senior associate at Lodders Solicitors, explained to Express.co.uk how employers can legally require their staff to be vaccinated.
Ms Reynolds said employers can legally mandate their staff to be vaccinated after amendments were made to the Health and Social Care Act 2008 on July 22.
She said: “[This] makes it mandatory for a person working or providing professional services in a care home to have the COVID-19 vaccine, with the new rules coming into force on November 11, 2021.”
Do any exemptions apply?
In other sectors, there’s no legal mechanism for bosses to require their employees to get the vaccine, but this is not the case for the care sector.
Ms Reynolds said: “Vaccines will be compulsory unless the person has provided clinical reasons why he or she cannot be vaccinated.
She added religious and philosophical beliefs will not be a sufficient excuse for failing to take up the vaccine.
But these new regulations only apply to England as Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have ruled out mandatory jabs for their care workers.
It’s not just care home staff who will need to be fully vaccinated under the new rules, those who come into care homes to do other work will also have to be double jabbed.
This includes tradespeople, hairdressers, beauticians, CQC inspectors and any other professionals who carry out their work in care settings.
When do the rules come into effect?
The rules will come into effect from November 11, any employee who has not been fully vaccinated after this time could risk losing their job.
The Government gave a 16 week grace period from the time the legislation was introduced on July 22, to mitigate the impact on staff capacity in care homes.
They believe this gives care homes bosses plenty of time to encourage their staff to have both vaccines and to warn them of consequences if they do not.
As well as giving them sufficient time to arrange alternative staffing to replace those who refuse to take up the vaccine.
September 16 was the last date care home workers could get their first dose to ensure they were fully vaccinated the November 11 cut off date.
What happens if care home staff still refuse the jab?
Legally care home staff won’t be able to claim unfair dismissal if they lose their job because they have refused the vaccine.
Ms Reynolds said: “If employees/workers are still reluctant to have the Covid-19 vaccine then the care home will need to take steps to dismiss the employee/worker by 11th November 2021.”
She added: “They will need to take into account any notice period, as any dismissal will be with notice.”
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