“No jab, no job” – an update
You will have undoubtedly seen in the press recently that the government is introducing a mandatory vaccination requirement, which will apply to all English care homes registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
The vaccination requirement will extend to all non-exempt persons who enter a care home building, regardless of their role, not just care home staff and volunteers, as originally thought. The requirement will therefore cover other health professionals, hair and beauty practitioners, tradespeople and CQC inspectors. However, there are a number of exemptions including residents, their friends and family, anyone who is medically exempt, people assisting with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work, staff/contractors who only work in the external grounds, as well as under the18s.
If covered by the new rules, staff will need to produce evidence of having had a complete course of an authorised Covid-19 vaccine (or evidence that they are exempt from vaccination). We are still awaiting an update on the types of evidence which may be acceptable to show vaccination status.
The government’s decision to make vaccines compulsory in these settings is likely to have an impact on whether or not other employers can refuse employment to individuals who refuse to be vaccinated. We recently published a guide to considerations for employers wanting to mandate vaccinations for their staff: https://mitchelllaw.co.uk/covid-19-vaccinations-no-jab-no-job/
We have no case law, as yet, to assist us in determining whether or not failure to have a vaccine could be a potentially fair reason for dismissal. However, the care home requirements may assist those organisations which work with vulnerable people to argue that mandatory vaccines are reasonable and allow for action to be taken in cases of unreasonable refusal to be vaccinated.