Statutory requirement for mandatory COVID vaccination for health and social care workers in England revoked

Following our most recent article (Dismissal for refusal to have a vaccine – Allette v Scarsdale Grange Nursing Home Ltd) on the COVID vaccination requirements for health and social care workers, the Government has announced that the statutory requirement for vaccinations as a condition of deployment in health and social care settings in England has been revoked.

The revocation of the vaccination requirement is as a result of the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) (No 3) Regulations 2022 coming into force on 15 March 2022.

The Regulations have halted the statutory requirement for mandatory vaccination for workers in Care Quality Commission (CQC), regulated care homes (which came into force on 11 November 2021), and the statutory requirement for mandatory vaccinations for other health and social care workers, which was due to come into force on 1 April 2022.

In light of the Regulations coming into force, the Department of Health and Social Care has withdrawn its operational guidance on vaccination of care home workers and workers in social care settings other than care homes, reflecting that vaccinations are no longer a mandatory requirement for workers in those settings.

Employers within health and social care settings need to be aware of this change and should take it into account when considering their treatment of unvaccinated staff moving forwards.

Whilst dismissals that have already taken place should be justified under the previous regulations in force at the time, a dismissal carried out following the new Regulations coming into force on 15 March 2022 for failure to evidence vaccination or an exemption, is likely to be unfair. In cases where notice of dismissal has already been served and an employee is in their notice period, employers who now want to withdraw a notice of dismissal will require the consent of the employee to do so.  

For further information, please contact Kirsty Cooke or Keeley Parkes.

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