A CARE home operator fears it will have to sack staff and make them “unemployable” in the industry under the government’s “no jab, no job” policy.
LuxuryCare Group – which has five homes in Bournemouth and Poole – says it is “heartbreaking” to consider parting with workers who have stayed loyal throughout the pandemic.
The government says all care home workers must have their first doses of vaccine by September 16 unless they are under 18 or have a medical exemption. Eligible staff must be fully vaccinated when new regulations come into force on November 11.
The guidance says employers should “explore all options” for redeploying those who refuse the vaccine – but warns staff that “the regulations may provide a fair reason for dismissal if you are not vaccinated or medically exempt”.
Mandy Kittlety, managing director at Luxurycare Group, recorded a video in which she said it was “unthinkable” and “heartbreaking” to part with staff she had worked with for a decade.
“It’s a real dilemma for all of us in social care because in our hearts is this desire to make sure that everybody we care for is safe and we do know that being double vaccinated will hopefully reduce the spread of this horrendous virus,” she said.
“But on the other side of things as a company we’re really concerned about our staff team.”
She said the new regulations would remove exemptions based on people’s culture and religion.
“The issue we’ve got is that if all of our staff are not vaccinated within the given time frame, then we are expected to dismiss them. They will be unemployable within any care home because they have not had their vaccination,” she said.
“We feel that actually through a dynamic risk assessment process we could actually deal with keeping people safe.”
Kevin Gunputh, founder of the company and former chairman of the Dorset Care Homes Association, said he had heard of some care home operators where 30 per cent of staff could be affected.
“Employment rights seem to be a thing of the past,” he added.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said: “Vaccines save lives and while staff and residents in care homes have been prioritised and the majority are now vaccinated, we need to do everything we can to keep reducing the risk for the most vulnerable.
“Through our extensive public consultation we have listened to the experiences and concerns of providers and people living and working in care homes to help shape our approach.
“We continue to work with the care sector to drive uptake among adult social care and care home staff to protect vulnerable people.”