Government's care home staff vaccination plan cited as a 'controversial' move

Date published: 16 June 2021

A reported move by the Government to insist Covid vaccinations must become compulsory for staff in care homes for older people in England has been described as 'controversial' and 'contentious' by a senior figure at Pearson Solicitors in Oldham.

According to the BBC, workers are expected to be given 16 weeks to have the jab or face being redeployed away from front-line care, or potentially lose their job.

Care bosses are currently attending a virtual meeting with the Department of Health to discuss the plans.

The move is set to be announced by the government in the next few days.

Susan Mayall, Head of Employment at Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers, said: “This is certainly a controversial move by the Government. 

"We need to see further detail as to whether there may be exemptions for care home staff who have medical reasons for not wanting to be vaccinated.

“The more contentious, however, is care home staff who may refuse an injection on religious or belief reasons and this may result in employers having claims issued under the Equality Act for discrimination on grounds of disability, religion and/or belief and also may be a breach of human rights.

“Employers going forward will have to make a decision of whether or not to enforce compulsory vaccinations for all care staff.”

“There will need to a fine balancing of risks and of people’s interest and balancing the risk of Covid-19 against the human rights and anti-discrimination laws of care home workers if they choose to refuse to have the jab,” added Ms Mayall. 

“As always this is a constantly changing area of employment legislation and we will be keeping all our clients updated with news and how the latest Covid-19 issues affect workplaces and employment law.”

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