“What do I do about care workers refusing to be vaccinated?”
From November 11 2021, all care home workers will be required two doses of the Covid jab. This measure was announced in June 2021 to ‘boost uptake’ and ‘protect vulnerable residents’.
However, since the date has drawn closer it has now been estimated that tens of thousands of care home workers are set to lose their job on Thursday.
For employers, this requires the difficulty of dismissing the employee on November 11, 2021.
Although this is a change in the law, it doesn’t mean the employee is automatically dismissed. A formal disciplinary hearing still needs to be adhered to.
Since the measure was announced, employers should have taken advice and issued a jab reminder letter to make them aware of the requirement that is now asked of them. Where an employee has not booked the vaccine within the deadline, you should initiate a formal disciplinary process.
The two-year employment rule
The two-year employment rule refers to dismissing an employee with less than 2 years service without the need to display a fair reason for the dismissal and follow a fair disciplinary procedure.
Care workers with less than two years service
Employees with less than two years of service pose little risk to the business, employers can simply dismiss the employee without a process on 10 November 2021. Employers need to exercise caution where an employee may have a protected characteristic or is unvaccinated due to religious beliefs or health conditions.
Care workers with more than two years service
Employees with more than two years of service and who are refusing the vaccine need to be treated with extra care. Employers should not discipline their staff but rather dismiss them for some other substantial reason, one of the 5 potentially fair reasons to dismiss.
Although the law permits a dismissal a fair process will still need to be followed. Employees should be invited to a meeting, and given the right to be accompanied by either a trade union representative or a work colleague. If you wish to rely upon any evidence in the meeting this should be shared in advance. Finally, appropriate notice should be given, ideally at least 3 days.
During the meeting discuss whether any of the exceptions apply and refer to the evidence you wish to rely upon. Following the meeting confirm the outcome in writing.
Employment Law Solutions can help you
Employment Law Solutions can help with your disciplinary procedures for care workers refusing to be vaccinated. We are an employment law service offering employment law advice for employers.
With a wealth of knowledge in curing HR headaches for employers across the UK, Employment Law Solutions can offer comprehensive, stress-free, and pragmatic advice on employment law, including restrictive covenants, post-termination restrictions, and dismissals.
Offering 24/7, 365 guidance with a mission to help you get on with doing what you do best – running your business. Protecting your business will always be our main priority.