How compulsory vaccinations in care settings will impact businesses outside of the care industry

From 11 November 2021, new legislation will require anyone working in or entering a care home to be fully vaccinated (unless they are exempt under the regulations).

This will have a significant impact on a range of professionals who interact with care homes, including healthcare workers, tradespeople, funeral directors, cleaners, kitchen staff, hairdressers and beauticians, and CQC inspectors. The rule only applies to people who go inside the care setting; therefore, anyone who is not entering the building doesn’t need to show their vaccination status.

What date do people have to be vaccinated by?

The government has set out a timeline for vaccination. Unless exempt, anyone wishing to enter a care home under the new legislation must have had their first COVID-19 vaccination dose by 16 September 2021 in order to be fully vaccinated by 11 November – when the regulations come into force.

I don’t work in care – how will this affect my business?

This new legislation isn’t just going to affect care homes. It is also going to have an impact on anyone who sends staff into care homes as part of their usual business.

If this applies to you, you will need to make sure that you have sufficient fully vaccinated (or exempt) staff to meet these requirements. The 16 September deadline for the first vaccine dose is coming soon, so it is wise to get a vaccination policy in place as soon as possible.

If it's essential for certain roles to enter into adult care home settings, it may be necessary to consider the introduction of a compulsory vaccination policy for these roles (unless individuals are medically exempt).

Employers need to be extremely careful when considering whether a compulsory approach is justified and if this needs to be done, you will need to consult with your employees before implementing such a policy. To ensure you stay on the right side of the law, please make sure you contact us, and we can work with you to get an appropriate policy in place and advise on its implementation and enforcement.

What are the exemptions from the new requirements?

Vaccination status will not need to be shown where:

  • the person, for clinical reasons, should not be vaccinated (the individual is exempt for medical reasons)
  • it is reasonably necessary for the person to provide emergency assistance in the care home
  • it is reasonably necessary for the person to provide urgent maintenance assistance to the care home
  • the person is a member of the emergency services in execution of their duties
  • the person is a friend or relative of the resident visiting the resident (this also includes unpaid carers or designated essential caregivers)
  • the person is visiting a resident who is dying
  • it is reasonably necessary for the person to provide comfort or support to a resident in relation to a resident’s bereavement following the death of a relative or friend
  • the person is under the age of 18

The most problematic exemption is medical exemption. We're still waiting for the publication of government guidance on the medical conditions this will cover, how employees should apply for medical exemption status and what care home managers can accept as appropriate evidence of medical exemption.

We do know that the medical conditions will be based on the clinical guidance set out in chapter 14a of the Green book on Immunisation Against Infectious Disease and advice largely relates to allergies to a specific vaccine ingredient.

We'll be sending out a further update as soon as the guidance on medical exemption is published.

How we can help

Whether you need help creating and implementing a vaccination policy – or would just like to chat through these upcoming changes and discuss how they may impact your business – we’re here to help. Our HR & Employment Law experts are available 24/7 to lend a helping hand on 0345 844 4848.

If you would like to read more about the new legislation, head to our comprehensive legal update here.

Pop in your details and we'll call you straight back

We'll get back to you as soon as we can.

Copy link
Powered by Social Snap