Minister of Labour Harry Bains. (Supplied by the Province of BC)
You don’t have to worry about losing your job if you take time off work to get your COVID-19 vaccine.
Labour minister Harry Bains made that assurance today, and says we need to get everyone vaccinated if we want to put this pandemic behind us.
“This safeguard ensures no one will lose their job if they need time away from work to get vaccinated for COVID-19,” Bains said.
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 a dose.
“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 is looking at 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 feds in the months since B.C. introduced the COVID-19 related leave, so that they 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.