Compulsory Covid-19 Vaccinations for Care Home Workers
Under the Care and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021, it will become compulsory for individuals working within a CQC (Care Quality Commission) registered care home to have received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine by 11 November 2021.
Are there exemptions?
The regulations will not apply to;
workers aged under 18
those who do not work inside the care home premises, such as gardeners
those providing emergency assistance or urgent maintenance
emergency services personnel
friends and relatives of residents.
There will also be exceptions for those who are considered to have a medical exemption, such as an allergy to the ingredients within the vaccine.
Qualifying medical exemptions are expected to be limited and further details on what is considered a medical exemption are yet to be confirmed.
There has been no confirmed exemption for religious grounds.
The Grace Period
We are currently in the 'grace period', which began on 22 July (the date the legislation was made) and continues for a period of 16 weeks until 11 November 2021.
The intention of the grace period is to allow unvaccinated employees to receive their vaccinations, where medically able to do so, prior to the effective date of 11 November 2021.
The 16 week grace period and time frame between vaccinations indicates that care home workers should get their first dose of the covid-19 vaccine before 16 September 2021, to ensure there is sufficient time to receive both doses of the vaccine before the regulations come in to force on 11 November.
What if a worker without medical exemption chooses not to receive the vaccine by 11 November 2021?
The decision to receive the vaccination ultimately remains the choice of the worker. It is however important that employers work closely and consult with those unvaccinated during this time to understand any possible eligible exemptions, provide information on the vaccine, and ensure they are fully aware of the requirement to be fully vaccinated by 11 November 2021 in order for the business to be able to continue to deploy them in the care home.
Business can take a number of proactive steps to prepare for the upcoming changes including review of vaccine uptake in the workplace, communicating the changes with their teams, planning team consultations, updating policies and GDPR requirements and adjusting recruitment processes and employment documents for future hires.
We are working with care homes to navigate through these changes and prepare their business and teams to minimise disruption.
Contact us for more information on how we can support you through this legislative change with tailored guidance, document templates and HR assistance for your business and teams.