Paid leave now in effect as B.C. employees allowed up to three hours for COVID vaccine

Paid leave now in effect as B.C. employees allowed up to three hours for COVID vaccine
Courtesy of CBC

The B.C. government has officially finalized amendments to the Employment Standards Act which provides employees across the province with paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

The Province says Bill 3 is now law, which ensures that no employee will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated.

According to the government, both full and part-time employees can take up to three hours of paid leave, retroactive to April 19, 2021.

“Guaranteeing paid leave for workers to get vaccinated is an important way to keep workers safe while reducing risks to businesses. Our government believes it’s in everyone’s interest to remove all barriers to a worker getting vaccinated when they are eligible to do so,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “Supporting workers to get their COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn will greatly benefit everyone. Workers will be able to protect themselves and their families from this terrible virus, businesses can protect staff and customers from getting sick, and communities will benefit from reducing the chance of an outbreak.”

The government believes that this leave is helping make it “as easy as possible” for residents of B.C. to get a vaccine and help flatten the curve of the coronavirus.

The Province announced on Tuesday that residents aged 30 and up are now eligible to get the AstraZeneca vaccine at a pharmacy — depending on supply — beginning with hot spot communities.

For the other available vaccines, the government is currently booking vaccines at immunization clinics for anyone 59 years old and up.

Anyone 18 years of age and older is able to register online for a COVID-19 vaccine at this time as well.

“The legislation responds to the feedback received during consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders,” reads a statement from the government.

“The legislation improves on the regulatory change made on April 1, 2021, that provides unpaid job-protected leave for workers to take the time they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This unpaid leave remains in place to supplement the new paid time off, for example, to accompany dependant family members to get vaccinated or in the event a worker needs more than three hours of paid leave to travel to their vaccine appointment.”

The amendment will remain in place until repealed by regulation, according to the government.


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