Care Sector Franchisors: Mandatory Vaccinations
From 1st April 2022, subject to exemptions, vaccinations will become a condition of employment for all health and social care workers who undertake regulated activities and are in client-facing roles. But what does this actually mean in practice for you as a franchisor? Here, Natalia Shvarts, our Director of Franchising, addresses some questions that you may be asking yourself.
Your existing Franchisees
Your franchise network is likely to look to you as the franchisor to guide them on how they should be addressing this. Do the recording practices that you currently use allow your franchisees to record the vaccination status of their employees? If they do not, you might want to put that on your to-do list.
If vaccinations are only mandatory for client facing roles, does that mean that office staff do not need to be vaccinated? Whilst strictly speaking, vaccinations are only mandatory for client facing roles, you should consider whether your clients attend or are likely to attend your premises. Also, do your office staff carry out any client visits, for example, quality assurance visits, or do they ever cover shifts in an emergency, such as if a care worker is sick?
Looking at your own operations as a franchisor, you might need to consider what changes you need to make to your own practices.
Are your franchisees likely to be carrying out client facing activities? If the answer is yes, then you might wish to ask and record the vaccination status during your recruitment process. If you do so, be mindful of data protection requirements and consider building this in at the correct stage of your onboarding process.
Where you have more than one individual involved in the operation of a franchise, should they not be involved in the day-to-day running of the franchise business, it may be entirely justified for them to not be vaccinated. However, if they are likely to be involved in the business, then whether they should be vaccinated will depend on the role they will play. In a similar way to your franchisees, you will need to be mindful of the changing circumstances and ensure that if that individual’s involvement changes, then you need to be able to react and adjust your processes to enable you to collect this information at a later stage.
In addition to new franchisees, don’t forget about change of owners in resale circumstances and consider whether asking about vaccination status should be built into your checks and balances that you undertake when renewing franchise agreements.
If you have any questions relating to managing your franchise network and Covid-19, please contact our franchise team.