Clearly, the pandemic has hit many sectors hard but the care home sector is currently suffering from severe staffing pressures. New mandatory vaccines being imposed for all staff (unless medically exempt) and changes to immigration rules following Brexit have added extra challenges for many care providers seeking new employees.

Job adverts for social care vacancies on the recruitment site Totaljobs in August were over 13,000 – an increase of over 84% compared to August 2020.

Mandatory vaccines

New research from government analysts has predicted that an estimated 40,000 care home staff will lose their job after refusing to have a Covid-19 vaccine. It has been discovered that 27.6 % of care home managers have lost between one to five staff members because of the new rule. The government announced in July that all care home staff must be double vaccinated by 11 November unless they’re medically exempt.  

Brexit Immigration rules

Current immigration rules mean that care homes are unable to employ foreign staff due to restrictions around low-paid foreign workers. Before the pandemic in 2020, there were 112,000 vacancies in the care sector paying £8.50 on average per hour (Data from Skills for Care). The qualifying salary for foreign workers is £25,600, which means care homes can employ care managers and senior care staff from overseas but not lower-paid care workers. Care England is urging the government to change its immigration policy on low-paid foreign workers to help ease the staffing crisis in the care sector.

Summary

Mandatory vaccines and the current immigration rules are likely to put extreme staffing pressures on the social care sector. Especially, when the mandatory vaccine rules kick in next month. Unless the government decides to amend these rules to ease staffing pressure on the sector. Much has been reported nationally on the shortage of HGV drivers to help with supply chains, fuel deliveries, etc. but we are yet to see the same cries for help for the care sector – with significantly higher vacancies being reported. With the Chancellor due to speak later this month at the Autumn Budget Statement, we await to see what steps will be implemented to keep the economy moving forward and residents safe in their homes. 

How can we help?

At Hawsons our dedicated team of specialist accountants and tax advisors offer a wealth of experience in the care sector including residential homes, nursing homes and other specialist care services.

Our in-depth knowledge and understanding of the sector is applied and we work closely with our clients, ensuring that changes in the care sector are recognised promptly and appropriate strategies implemented and actions taken. We recognise that no two homes are the same.

Free initial meeting

Scott Sanderson

Partner, Sheffield

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