British Columbia

B.C. guarantees job-protected leave for workers getting COVID-19 vaccines

B.C.'s part- and full-time workers will get job-protected leave to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, under a change to the province's Employment Standards Act.

'We need to get British Columbians vaccinated if we want to put this pandemic behind us,' says labour minister

Job-protected leave has been written into British Columbia's Employment Standards Act to give workers time off to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

An update to B.C's Employment Standards Act guarantees part- and full-time employees can take time away from work to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without fear of losing their jobs.

Workers are also allowed to take a dependent family member to receive the vaccine, under the province's regulatory improvements, the B.C. government announced Thursday.

"We need to get British Columbians vaccinated if we want to put this pandemic behind us," said Labour Minister Harry Bains in a statement.

Bains encouraged all workers to get vaccinated as soon as they can while following the province's COVID-19 vaccination rollout plan.

"I know most businesses understand the importance of having their employees vaccinated and providing a safe workspace for workers and customers," said Bains.

The regulatory change also includes expanding the job-protected leave for reasons related to COVID-19, which were brought in last March — aligning with federal government sickness and caregiver benefits.

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. 

As of Wednesday, anyone who is 72 or older can book an appointment through the province's vaccination call centres. 

Officials also opened up appointments this week for Indigenous residents born in 2003 or earlier. All Indigenous people ages 18 and older can now contact their regional health authority call centre to book their first shot.

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