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Possible Move to Mandatory Vaccinations for Care Sector Employees

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has recently backed the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations of employees working at care homes.

In their submission to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the EHRC said it was, “reasonable to require,” care home workers who work directly with older and disabled people to be vaccinated and that the government would be, “right to prioritise protection of the right to life,” when considering legislation.

In the report they went on to say, “In our view it is therefore reasonable to require care home staff to be vaccinated in order to work directly with older and disabled people, subject to some important safeguards to ensure the requirement remains proportionate and to minimise the risk of unlawful discrimination or breaches of care workers’ human rights.”

The safeguards they are referring to, include a legal exemption for individuals who cannot receive the vaccine for medical reasons, mitigating the risk of indirect discrimination and covering expenses for those who need to travel to get the jab.

They also said statutory sick pay should remain in place for those who suffer from a reaction to the vaccine.

This is encouraging news for employers who work in that sector and have been concerned about how to protect the people they look after. But be warned that even if such guidance becomes law, employers will not be able to apply a blanket policy and if imposed inflexibly, it is likely to be found to be illegal. It is certainly unlikely to be made mandatory for employers outside the care sector.

If there are further developments on this matter, we will provide an update on the situation. In the meantime, it is not legal to have a “no jab, no job” policy and encouraging staff to be vaccinated is the best option.
Posted on 04 Jun 2021
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