Covid vaccine rules could devastate social care sector, warns Royds Withy King employment partner

November 7, 2021
A legal expert at regional law firm Royds Withy King fears the government’s ‘no jab, no job’ policy will deliver a “crushing blow” to the social care sector. 
James Sage, Royds Withy King’s employment law partner and head of its health & social care team, said care homes in England risk losing 60,000 frontline workers as a result of the mandatory vaccination scheme, which will come into effect next Thursday. 

The social care sector in England employs an estimated 600,000 people and data from the National Care Forum and Department of Health and Social Care Capacity Tracker suggest that, while vaccination rates in the sector are high, 10% of staff have not yet been double vaccinated and just 0.3% are exempt from vaccination.
James, pictured, said that having been on the frontline during the pandemic, the sector was now struggling to recruit and retain staff and facing chronic future shortages.
“Under the current government regulations, care home staff who have not received both vaccinations and are not exempt will need to be redeployed or dismissed,” he said. 
“There are very few opportunities for redeployment in care homes so many will be left with no choice but to dismiss those staff.
“Many of these workers are highly experienced and will, put bluntly, be irreplaceable. Others will simply choose to leave to work in other sectors that are also facing staff shortages but which do not require mandatory vaccinations.”
He said the social care sector had suffered from chronic staff shortages for many years. This had now been exacerbated by post-Brexit immigration restrictions and the pandemic.  
“It is widely accepted that the sector will require 490,000 new jobs over the next 15 years, which is approximately a 29% increase on the number of employees the sector employs today,” he added.
“Changes to the immigration regime have made the hiring of staff more challenging and funding models simply do not allow care employers to increase wages to compete across other industry sectors, particularly where they have increased pay and are offering signing on bonuses to plug staffing shortages.

“Losing 60,000 key workers as we approach what the government is describing as a difficult winter is unthinkable, particularly given the lack of any coherent government plans on how to recruit more staff to the sector.”

Bath-headquartered Royds Withy King also has offices in Bristol, London and Oxford. 




Comments are closed.


Reach tens of thousands of senior business people across Swindon & Wiltshire for just £70 a month. Email for more information.