Workers at an ice cream shop wear face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 at Steveston Village, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Workers at an ice cream shop wear face masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 at Steveston Village, in Richmond, B.C., on Sunday, January 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

All B.C. workers can now get time off for their COVID vaccine without repercussions

Leave is currently unpaid but B.C. government says it’s exploring paid options

Any worker in B.C. will no longer have to worry about losing their job if they want to get a COVID vaccine for themselves or a dependent family member.

On Thursday (April 1), the province announced that it had made changes to the Employment Standards Act to require job-protected leave for part-time or full-time workers getting their vaccine.

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

This leave is currently unpaid, but the labour ministry said it would “explore options” for paid leave.

B.C. also expanded 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. All workers can now take job-protected leave to care for any family members with COVID-19, not only a child or dependent adult. Workers with underlying conditions, undergoing treatment or have contracted another illness that makes them higher risk for the virus can also now take the leave.

READ MORE: B.C. considering paid time off for workers to get COVID-19 vaccine


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