The End of Furlough and Compulsory Vaccines Update
Just as employers have got used to running their business in a post pandemic era it’s all about to change as furlough ceases at the end of this month and vaccine laws are being introduced.
Many employers have been using the furlough scheme and forsome, especially those in the hospitality sector, it has saved their businesses, even with the employer top ups that were introduced. Now there are some important dates coming up for business owners to be aware of:
- Furlough ends on September 30th
It is also essential to be aware of the dates for making claims for payments:
- Claims for furlough days in August 2021 have to be made by 14 September 2021.
- Claims for furlough days in September 2021 must be made by 14 October 2021.
- Any amendments must be made by 28 October 2021.
Compulsory Vaccines Update
Another issue affecting my employer clients is how to deal with staff who do not want to get the vaccine, for whatever reason. At the same time others in the team are being asked by employees what their rights are if they do not want to get vaccinated?
It is a fact that a new law comes into force on November 11th 2021 requiring compulsory vaccination for workers in care homes (working in care homes registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC)). From that date onwards staff and visitors to homes will have to be fully vaccinated.
Exceptions include; anyone under the age of 18 or medically exempt.
An employee will have to demonstrate proof of vaccine status from November 11th either via the official NHS App, the NHS website or in an NHS COVID Pass letter.
“Like many in the caring professions staff in care homes have gone above and beyond during the COVID crisis to care for residents, many have taken up the vaccination challenge, but for some it will be an issue and this will obviously have employment law ramifications,” said Head of Employment Law at Pearson Solicitors, Susan Mayall.
“We have already seen COVID-19 mentioned in dismissal cases in the Employment Tribunals and I would expect after the November deadline we will see some challenges for business owners. We will also be keeping an eye on whether the compulsory vaccination law is extended to other professions,” she added
What happens if staff don’t get vaccinated?
One area to look at is redeployment and employers must consider all the options and maybe move staff to a less front line role for which vaccination is not required.
Dismissal is an option, but this is a route most employers do not want to follow. However, the new regulations may provide a fair reason for dismissal if staff are not vaccinated or medically exempt.
“The compulsory vaccine issue has raised some questions and has already been challenged stating that the new law contravenes s45E Public Health (Control of Disease Act) 1984. A formal judicial review challenging the Care Home Regulations is likely soon and we await to see the way forward with regards to employment law and the vaccine, as I say it’s a minefield and the mines keep moving,” added Susan Mayall.
“My advice is to take time to listen to your staff, keep them fully aware of any legislation changes and try to resolve any issues to benefits both the employee and the business as a whole.
To jab or not to jab is an emotive area of the law and we can help employers and employees with clear cut sensible advice and answer some of those questions such as:
- Will I be dismissed for not getting vaccinated?
- Do I have to tell my employers I’ve been vaccinated or not?
- Can I make a claim for unfair dismissal if I’ve not had the vaccine and get sacked?
Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.
This blog was posted some time ago and its contents may now be out of date. For the latest legal position relating to these issues, get in touch with the author - or make an enquiry now.