HC-One has launched a consultation with staff and recognised trade union partner, the GMB, on making the COVID-19 a condition of employment.
The consultation follows the government’s announcement last month that it would be introducing a law requiring all care home staff in England to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
James Tugendhat (pictured), Chief Executive Officer of HC-One, said: “We welcomed the UK Government’s announcement that it would be legislating to require care home staff in England to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and we are going further by making having the COVID-19 vaccine a condition of employment for all HC-One Colleagues, including our colleagues in Scotland and Wales, and all of our support teams.
“Our purpose is to be The Kind Care Company, supporting those in our care to lead their best life. We believe that safety is at the heart of this. We want our homes to be safe and open to visiting. We want the people we care for and their families to be able to come together. We can’t miss an opportunity to make this happen, which is why we are moving to make the COVID-19 vaccine a condition of employment at HC-One.”
The HC-One boss said the move was the “responsible step” to protect residents and colleagues alike.
“The evidence is clearly emerging that vaccination cuts transmission and substantially reduces the risk of hospitalisation,” he added. “Together with regular testing, and robust infection prevention and control measures, vaccinations will help us to operate our homes in a way that is as close to normal as possible in the current circumstances.”
James said the move to make vaccination a condition of employment had followed months of encouraging and supporting colleagues to take the vaccine, with 90% of staff so far having jabs.
Kelly Andrews, GMB National Care Lead, warned HC-One faced a “potential landslide” of legal action if it changed people’s terms and conditions unilaterally without taking into account mitigating factors.
Kelly said: “The fact HC-One has told staff this will happen before consultation with GMB suggest the decision has already been made.
“GMB intends to fully participate in the proposed consultation process, but there must be genuine negotiations for change or we will take further action.”
The consultation process will run from mid-July through to early September.