A York MP opposed to mandatory vaccination has raised concerns about a council job advert which said having the jab was a condition of employment.
Rachael Maskell, the Labour MP for York Central, said the council should make it clear that being vaccinated was “not a requirement” for the role of contracts and quality improvement manager in the council’s adult social care department – something City of York Council disputes.
The ad, posted on Thursday (3 February), states: “It is mandated that post holders must demonstrate evidence of having had a complete course of an authorised Covid-19 vaccine.
“You will be required to provide evidence of vaccination or medical exemption prior to starting work at the council.”
On January 31, the government said the legal requirement for health and social care staff to be double jabbed was to be removed, subject to consultation and parliamentary approval – a u-turn on its previous position.
Ms Maskell, a senior NHS clinician and former head of health at Unite, had to stand down as a shadow minister for voting against the Government’s regulations in December.
She said health providers had recently received letters advising them not to make people redundant, but acknowledged that the letters did not say people can’t be denied employment due to their vaccination status.
But she added: “They should have withdrawn the advert clearly and made it clear that that was not a requirement for the job, which it legally cannot be.
“For the local authority to proceed with this advertisement in the light of what is happening is quite astounding, really.”
Job ad amended
Ms Maskell was contacted by York resident Gwen Swinburn, who saw the job advert for a home care worker.
Ms Maskell has been a strong advocate of vaccination, but said it had limitations against the Omicron variant.
A spokesperson from City of York Council, said: “Being vaccinated is currently a legal requirement for the responsibility of the job position as a contracts and quality improvement manager in the adult social care sector, in line with the Government regulations (The Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) (Amendment) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2021).
“These regulations, which came into force in November 2021, require care home providers to only deploy individuals who are fully vaccinated, unless they are exempt.
“This vaccination status also extends to individuals working or volunteering in care homes.
“The council has many staff who work in care homes as part of their duties and it is these roles where the council has applied the regulations and amended our recruitment procedures accordingly.”
The spokesperson added: “At present, the guidance for staff and professionals attending care homes remains unchanged and the council has therefore, not changed its position for recruitment purposes.
“We will review our procedures once the outcome of the public consultation and parliamentary approval into revised regulations is known.
“In the meantime, we have added a statement to our recruitment pages, referring to the possible pending regulation changes, for applicants’ information.”