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  • 16 June 2021
  • 3 min read

Compulsory Jab Could Cause Further Problems For Social Care Recruitment

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    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 1
  • 2586
"Evidence suggests mandatory Covid jabs could force some care workers to leave their job."

Social care is severely beset by a staffing crisis with over 100,000 vacancies. It’s believed a compulsory Covid jab for care workers would save lives while making recruitment even harder.

The chance of Covid jabs becoming compulsory for care sector workers has become far more likely, following approval from the UK’s human rights watchdog.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) said that it’s right to prioritise the safety of residents and staff, despite any such policy being unprecedented.

However, it’s also apparent that care sector recruitment could be negatively impacted by compulsory vaccinations.

Damned If They Do, Damned If They Don’t

No firm decision has been made yet on formally introducing this policy. And in government ministers remain uncertain. Many firmly believe that a mandatory vaccination policy would save lives.

But in a sector already plagued by recruitment problems, there is reluctance to alienate any part of the care sector workforce.

Evidence already suggests that the demographic groups who are least likely to get vaccinated are more likely to leave their jobs if vaccination becomes compulsory.

One study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine also suggested that social care workers who felt under pressure to accept the vaccine were actually more likely to decline it.

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More Protection Needed

The EHRC has also discovered that care workers often refuse the vaccine because they fear the consequences of having to take time off in the unlikely event of suffering severe side effects.

With statutory sick pay capped at £96.35 a week and a quarter of the social care workforce on zero hours contracts, time off due to vaccination symptoms is simply unaffordable for many care workers.

And this taps into a problem that comes up time and again.

Care sector pay is stubbornly low, with many workers barely earning minimum wage.

With the vast majority of care homes operated privately, pay is very difficult to regulate, and zero hours contracts have become increasingly common.

And without the kinds of benefits NHS workers enjoy, there simply is no safety net for low-paid social care employees.

Along with Brexit, low pay has been a consistent thorn in the side of care sector recruitment.

Further impacts from compulsory vaccination will be an enormous concern, and that’s why the EHRC, ministers and many industry bodies are urging for a diplomatic and cautious approach to this proposed policy.

About the author

I believe people working in healthcare should be able to choose to enjoy work. That is, choose an employer who reflects their values and provides them with a sustainable career. This leads to better patient care, higher retention rates and happier working lives in this most important employment sector.

    • Richard Gill
    • Mat Martin
    • Aubrey Hollebon
  • 1
  • 2586

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    • Henry Alphonsus 2 years ago
      Henry Alphonsus
    • Henry Alphonsus
      2 years ago

      Vaccine should not be made complusory for health workers. Why do we differ when it comes to vaccine? I thought ... read more

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