By Claire Gordon • 15 January 2022 • 13:27
Unvaccinated NHS staff who are set to lose their jobs on April 1st will be sacked with no exit payment, an official document shows. Frontline workers must be fully vaccinated with two doses against Covid-19 by the 1 April deadline or they will lose their jobs. This means they will have to take their first shot by 3 February.
Healthcare employers have said that after the initial deadline for the first jab, workers should be called into meetings to discuss their status. The document states that they should be made aware that the potential outcome could be dismissal. It also says that the meetings can be held in person or virtually.
The guidance published yesterday is for the implementation of Vaccination as a Condition of Deployment (VCOD). The 24-page document says: ‘It is important to note this is not a redundancy exercise. In the context of the regulations, there is no diminishment or cessation of work of a particular kind, reports the Metro.
It continues: “Employers will not be concerned with finding “suitable alternative employment” and there will be no redundancy entitlements, including payments, whether statutory or contractual, triggered by this process.
“The redeployment or dismissal of workers is determined by the introduction of the regulations and an individual’s decision to remain unvaccinated. Whilst organisations are encouraged to explore redeployment, the general principles which apply in a redundancy exercise are not applicable here, and it is important that managers are aware of this.”
This basically eliminates the need for the employer to treat the dismissal of unvaccinated NHS staff as redundancies, meaning they are not entitled to a payout and that their role can be immediately refilled, amongst other rulings. The guidance says employers should engage and work in collaboration with their trade union or staff side representatives, as to the formal measures being taken ‘in respect of redeployment processes and potential dismissals of staff due to VCOD’.
The document comes after leading midwives called for an ‘immediate delay’ to plans for mandatory Covid-19 jabs for frontline health workers. The Royal College of Midwives has reported ‘chronic understaffing’ with an estimated shortfall of around 2,000 midwives and they fear the policy will see levels fall further still.
There have been multiple protests regarding the mandatory jab for unvaccinated NHS workers, plus many doctors coming out against the need for the jabs for all, including this now well-known case at King’s College Hospital in London.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said workers in the sector are “responsible for looking after some of the most vulnerable people in society, many of whom are more likely to suffer serious health consequences if exposed to the virus.”
The spokesperson added: “This is about patient safety, and ensuring people in hospital or care have as much protection as possible. Vaccinations remain our best defence against Covid.”
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