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Paid leave for COVID-19 vaccines now in place

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 4:39 PDT, Wed April 28, 2021

Last Updated: 2:13 PDT, Wed May 12, 2021

Amendments to the Employment Standards Act providing workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine are now in effect, retroactive to April 19.

Bill 3 is now law and ensures that no employee will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated. Both full-time and part-time employees can take up to three hours of paid leave.

"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 Labour Minister Harry Bains. "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."

This leave is helping make it as easy as possible for British Columbians to get their vaccines, as a part of B.C.'s Immunization Plan, which also includes flexible clinic hours and online registration to book vaccines.

The legislation responds to the feedback received during consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders. 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amendment is intended to support British Columbians through the current COVID-19 pandemic and will be in place until repealed by regulation.

For more information on registering for a COVID-19 vaccination, visit https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated.

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