Mandatory vaccinations for people working in care home environment
The UK government has announced that it will be mandatory as a condition of employment of people in care homes in England to have a COVID-19 vaccination. This will be achieved by making an amendment to a piece of legislation. The government has announced that there will be exemptions from this requirement for anyone who is medically exempt; anyone assisting with an emergency or carrying out urgent maintenance work; anyone working only in the external grounds; and anyone under the age of 18.
It will be interesting to see to what extent that there are any challenges to this. It is important to note that it is not a legal requirement in Jersey to be vaccinated against COVID-19 so employers cannot necessarily require employees to be vaccinated without their consent, although depending on the nature of the workplace this could be considered. In our view where employees are working with vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly or sick), then mandatory vaccination may be considered, although it is a complex area of law and advice should be sought first.
Consultation on Flexible Working
The UK government has announced its intention to commence a consultation to consider whether flexible working should become the default option for employees unless there is a good reason not to. A government spokesman has already stated that this would not go so far as giving employees the legal right to work from home.
It will be interesting to see whether the Jersey government considers making any similar amendments to Jersey’s existing Employment legislation following the results of this consultation.
TUC calls for long Covid to be recognised as a disability
On 20 June 2021, the TUC called for ‘long Covid’ to be formally recognised as a disability and for Covid-19 to be recognised as an occupational disease so as to give employees access to legal protections and compensation.
As most Jersey based employers will know, Jersey’s definition of ‘disability’ is already potentially wide enough to cover ‘long Covid’.
UK achieves adequacy status by European Commission for Data Protection purposes
The European Commission has formally bestowed ‘adequacy status’ on the United Kingdom. Jersey’s Data Protection Legislation already made it clear that the United Kingdom was not to be regarded as a ‘third country’ until the end of 2021. With this adequacy status now in place it means that Jersey employers can continue to transfer personal data to the United Kingdom even after the end of 2021 when the Brexit transitional period ends.