April 28, 2021
Amendments to the Employment Standards Act providing workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine are now in effect, retroactive to April 19, 2021.
Bill 3 is now law and ensures that no employee will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated. Both full-time and part-time employees can take up to three hours of paid leave.
“Guaranteeing paid leave for workers to get vaccinated is an important way to keep workers safe, while reducing 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 Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “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.”
This leave is helping make it as easy as possible for British Columbians to get their vaccines, as a part of B.C.’s Immunization Plan, which also includes flexible clinic hours and online registration to book vaccines.
The legislation responds to the feedback received during consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders. The legislation improves on the regulatory change made on April 1, 2021, that provides unpaid job-protected leave for workers to take the time they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This unpaid leave remains in place to supplement the new paid time off, for example to accompany dependant family members to get vaccinated or in the event a worker needs more than three hours of paid leave to travel to their vaccine appointment.
The amendment is intended to support British Columbians through the current COVID-19 pandemic and will be in place until repealed by regulation.
For more information on B.C.’s employment standards, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/employment-standards-advice/employment-standards/time-off/taking-unexpected-time-off#covid
For more information on registering for a COVID-19 vaccination, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/getvaccinated
April 19, 2021
(Translations: Traditional Chinese 繁體中文, Simplified Chinese簡體中文, French & Punjabi, read HERE)
The B.C. government has introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Act that, if passed, will provide workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine.
The amendments ensure no one will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated.
“We know that many workers can’t afford to lose pay, and we need to make sure that it’s as easy as possible for workers to receive a COVID-19 vaccine,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour. “This paid leave will ensure that no one will have to choose between losing pay and getting their doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.”
These amendments expand on the regulatory improvements made on April 1, 2021, that currently provide job-protected leave for workers to take as much time as they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The changes to the act will allow employees to take up to three hours of paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccine, for each dose.
“We are pleased with the news that the B.C. government is mandating paid time off for all workers to get COVID-19 vaccinations,” said Kim Novak, president, UFCW 1518. “Today’s announcement means a critical barrier has been removed for workers – they no longer have to choose between getting paid at work or getting their life-saving vaccinations. This is a big step in the right direction and a big win for workers, especially those who have been working on the front lines throughout this pandemic. They have been hit hard and no longer must worry about having their pay cheque deducted for getting their vaccines. We thank Minister Bains and the B.C. government for acting swiftly on this legislation.”
This paid leave will support the timeline of B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan for when the majority of working-aged people in the province will receive their vaccines.
“Bringing in a paid leave for a set few hours for staff to get a vaccination is an opportunity for businesses to look at this as an investment in a future free of COVID-19, which will be good for their business and their bottom line, and ultimately economic recovery for all industries,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.
The Ministry of Labour consulted with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders in developing this legislation to balance paid leave with supports for employers. Businesses suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19 can access direct financial support through the Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant and the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program.
“The best thing for all of us – for employers, workers, seniors, our health-care system and our communities – is to bring an end to the pandemic, which we can do through a strong immunization plan that works for everyone in B.C.,” Bains said.
If passed, the effective date will be retroactive to the date of introduction (April 19, 2021).
To learn about B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan and rollout, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/covid-19/vaccine/plan
For more information on B.C.’s employment standards, visit:
April 01, 2021
(Translations: Traditional Chinese 繁體中文, Simplified Chinese簡體中文, read HERE)
“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.
“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.
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 the leave.
To learn about B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan and rollout, visit:
For more information on B.C.’s employment standards, visit: