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Paid COVID-19 vaccination leave approved by B.C. government

Up to three hours of leave available for workers getting their shots
The legislation, known as “Bill 3,” is now in effect and is retroactive to April 19. Glacier Media file.

B.C. workers can now take up to three hours of paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Both full-time and part-time employees can take paid leave to get the jab, the B.C. Ministry of Labour announced Wednesday morning, now that amendments have been made to the Employment Standards Act.

The legislation, known as “Bill 3,” is now in effect and is retroactive to April 19.

Harry Bains, B.C. Minister of Labour, said in a statement that guaranteeing paid leave for workers to get vaccinated helps to keep them safe while minimizing 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 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.”

The paid leave is expected to help British Columbians more easily get their vaccines, alongside flexible clinic hours and online registrations reads the statement.

The legislation improved on changes enacted on April 1 that provided unpaid leave for pandemic-related vaccinations.

Workers can also take unpaid job-protected leave, on top of the three hours paid leave, if they need more time to travel to their vaccine appointment or to accompany dependent family members to get vaccinated.

The amendment, intended to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, will remain in place until it is repealed by the government.

-With files from Canadian Press