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Care home staff to be paid when travelling for flu jab or self-isolating due to COVID

RCN says funding will boost vaccine uptake, but staff still need full occupational sick pay

RCN says funding will boost vaccine uptake, but staff still need full occupational sick pay to allow them to recover and reduce spread of COVID

Picture: Tim Gee

Nurses working in care homes will be paid when travelling to receive their flu vaccinations and self-isolating due to COVID-19.

Care home providers can now access new government funding to ensure staff are paid their usual wages for the time and travel costs of going to get a flu vaccine. It replicates the support offered to staff going for their COVID-19 vaccine and aims to boost uptake of the flu jab this winter.

Staff who are unwell could feel forced to attend work

The RCN has welcomed the

RCN says funding will boost vaccine uptake, but staff still need full occupational sick pay to allow them to recover and reduce spread of COVID

Nurses working in care homes will be paid when travelling to receive their flu jabs and when self-isolating due to COVID-19
Picture: Tim Gee

Nurses working in care homes will be paid when travelling to receive their flu vaccinations and self-isolating due to COVID-19.

Care home providers can now access new government funding to ensure staff are paid their usual wages for the time and travel costs of going to get a flu vaccine. It replicates the support offered to staff going for their COVID-19 vaccine and aims to boost uptake of the flu jab this winter.

Staff who are unwell could feel forced to attend work

The RCN has welcomed the £25 million funding to support these measures, but said social care staff needed full occupational sick pay to allow them to recover and reduce the spread of infection.

RCN national officer for independent health and social care services Clare Jacobs said: ‘We have been calling for all organisations to make it easy for their staff to get vaccinated by enabling them to have it within working hours or at a time and location that suits them. This will increase uptake.’

However, Ms Jacobs said without full occupational sick pay, social care staff who are unwell would feel forced to attend work. ‘We expect employers to look after their staff. It will be the care home residents who suffer most if those people caring for them aren’t physically or emotionally fit for work,’ she said.

Funding part of wider financial package to support infection prevention

GP practices will be able to vaccinate social care staff who are not registered at their practice, to boost flu vaccine uptake. The fund will be made available to local authorities and care providers to support staff as they see fit, and will be paid through care home worker’s salaries, said a Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson.

The funding is part of a wider financial package to support infection prevention and control measures in care homes announced by the health and social care secretary Sajid Javid. Other measures include providing free personal protective equipment until the end of March 2022, and regular asymptomatic COVID-19 testing.

Your questions answered on the new measures

How will employers access the funding?

Local authorities will allocate funds to care providers, who will then use the funding to support staff. Funding can be spent by care providers on a range of measures to prevent infection, including supporting staff to access vaccinations and paying staff their normal wages while self-isolating.

How will it get paid to staff?

Staff will receive payments as part of their salary.

Would I get full pay when self-isolating?

The government says the funding can be used to ensure that staff who are isolating in line with government guidance receive their normal wages and do not lose income while doing so, but care providers have flexibility on how they spend the money.

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