BC workers are now able to take time off to self-isolate or care for a child or other dependent without fear they may lose their jobs.

The provincial legislature has approved changes to the Employment Standards Act.

One change allows employees to take immediate unpaid leave if their time off work is connected to the COVID-19.

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth says the changes ensure “no one will lose their jobs for prioritizing their health and safety, or the health and safety of their loved ones and their community.”

The leave will be retroactive to January 27th of this year, when the first case of coronavirus was confirmed in BC.

Cowichan Valley Green MLA Sonia Furstenau says it’s good to see members of the different parties coming together during the COVID-19 Crisis.

Furstenau says all three parties in the legislature are united in the effort to ensure the health and safety of British Columbians.

The other change gives workers three days of unpaid, job-protected leave each year if they can’t work because of illness or injury.

This is a permanent change that brings BC’s Employment Standards Act in line with other provinces.

Labour Minister Harry Bains says “we’re stepping up and bringing in this new leave to support workers over the long term, beyond this crisis.”

The changes were approved at an emergency sitting of the BC Legislature Monday afternoon.