Mandatory vaccination: Government extends temporary exemption deadline
On 8 December, the Government updated its guidance on mandatory vaccination and temporary medical exemptions for care home staff. The self-certified temporary exemption will now expire on 31 March 2022 instead of 23 December 2021.
A copy of the guidance can be found here: Temporary medical exemptions for COVID-19 vaccination of people working or deployed in care homes.
This is positive news for providers in that it enables you to continue employing these staff over the winter period at a time where recruitment is particularly challenging. It will also provide staff applying for a formal medical with more time to do so as we have seen some cases of significant delays in getting a decision.
However, it does create some challenges for those of you in the process of implementing dismissal procedures for staff who have submitted a temporary medical exemption but have confirmed that they are not applying for a formal vaccine. It will no longer be possible to rely on statutory restriction as the reason for dismissal as there is no statutory restriction until 31 March 2022. Consideration will therefore need to be given to whether to delay any proposed dismissals or whether an alternative fair reason for dismissal (e.g. SOSR) would apply.