BC workers can take the time they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine without fear of losing their jobs, the provincial 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 release. “This safeguard ensures no one will lose their job if they need time away from work to get vaccinated for COVID-19.”
As part of this move, the province said it 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.
“I encourage all workers to get your vaccine as soon as it’s your turn,” Bains said. “I know most businesses understand the importance of having their employees vaccinated and providing a safe workspace for workers and customers.”
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In addition to these regulatory improvements, the government said it will explore options to provide workers with paid leave while getting their vaccine.
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 the leave.