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Posted: April 1, 2021

Job-protected leave for workers getting COVID-19 vaccine

Workers can take the time they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without fear of losing their jobs, the B.C. government announced this afternoon (April 1).

“We need to get British Columbians vaccinated if we want to put this pandemic behind us,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “This safeguard ensures no one will lose their job if they need time away from work to get vaccinated for COVID-19.”

The province has made regulatory improvements under the Employment Standards Act to quickly bring in a job-protected leave. Part-time and full-time workers will be able to take the time needed to travel and receive the vaccine or to take a dependent family member to receive the vaccine, a Ministry of Labour media release outlined.

“I encourage all workers to get your vaccine as soon as it’s your turn,” Bains said. “And I know most businesses understand the importance of having their employees vaccinated and providing a safe workspace for workers and customers.”

In addition to these regulatory improvements, the government will explore options to provide workers with paid leave while getting their vaccine. This will include consultations with B.C.’s business community, labour organizations and workers who have been hit hardest by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the labour ministry said.

This regulatory change also includes expanding the job-protected leave for reasons related to COVID-19, brought in last March, to fully align with the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit. Changes were made by the federal government in the months since B.C. introduced the COVID-19 related leave, so these changes ensure job protection for all eligible federal benefit programs.

A worker can now take job-protected leave if they need to care for other family members because of COVID-19, and not only a child or dependent adult as previously defined. Improvements also allow workers with underlying conditions, who are undergoing treatment or who have contracted another illness that makes them more susceptible to COVID-19, to take

Learn more about B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan and rollout.

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