Hundreds of B.C. public servants placed on unpaid leave after failing to get vaccinated for COVID-19

Hundreds of B.C. public servants placed on unpaid leave after failing to get vaccinated for COVID-19
Nicholas Pescod/CHEK News
File photo.

While an overwhelming majority of B.C. public servants are fully or partially vaccinated, some 432 employees are either unvaccinated or declined to disclose their vaccination status and have been placed on unpaid leave, the BC Public Service Agency says.

Last month the B.C. government announced a vaccine mandate for more than 38,000 public service employees, giving workers until Nov. 22 to prove their vaccine status, or risk being placed on a three-month unpaid leave. After that, they may be fired.

On Tuesday, the government reported that more than 98 per cent of workers have met the requirement to be partially or fully vaccinated byt the deadline.

Specifically, 97 per cent are fully vaccinated and 1.15 per cent (439 workers) are partially vaccinated, and have 35 days from their first jab to receive their second.

Out of 38,240 employeers, 274  — or 0.72 per cent — have requested an exemption based on a medical condition, with those requests “being reviewed on a case-by-case basis,” the government said.

The 432 employees who haven’t been vaccinated or refuse to disclose their status account for 1.13 per cent of the public service workforce.

“Additional employees who are currently on various forms of leave are required to provide proof of vaccination when they return to work,” BC Public Service Agency said in a statement.

Contractors who provide services to government workplaces and anyone else who has access to employee-only areas indoors are also required to be fully vaccinated by Dec. 13.

“The proof of vaccination policy remains in effect until public-health concerns regarding COVID-19 are reduced to a level, prescribed by government, to enable workplaces to operate without restrictions or a vaccination requirement,” the agency said.

Eearlier this month, public service workers who disagreed with the vaccine mandate or requirement to disclose vaccination status staged a protest outside of the B.C. Legislature with reasons ranging from invasion of privacy to safety concerns.

As of Monday, more than 91 per cent of eligible British Columbians 12 and older had received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, and 87.8 per cent received their second dose.


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