On April 27, 2021, Bill 3: Leave for COVID-19 Vaccination received royal assent. As we first reported, this legislation was introduced on April 19, 2021, with the intention of amending the Employment Standards Act to provide employees up to three hours of paid leave from work to receive each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Bill … Continued
Tag: employment standards act
On April 27, 2021, Bill 3: Leave for COVID-19 Vaccination received royal assent. As we first reported, this legislation was introduced on April 19, 2021, with the intention of amending the Employment Standards Act to provide employees up to three hours of paid leave from work to receive each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Bill 3 passed through the Legislative Assembly without amendment, and accordingly will apply retroactively to all eligible vaccine leave requests from April 19, 2021 onward.
The legislation provides a maximum entitlement of three hours paid leave, but not an automatic entitlement to the full three hours. During the legislative debate, Minister Bains clarified that it remains a matter of management discretion to determine what amount of paid time off is reasonable in the circumstances. In most instances, it is expected employees and employers will be able to work together to determine the appropriate amount of time off considering the travelling time to the vaccine clinic from the workplace. Employees requiring more than three hours off work to obtain their COVID-19 vaccine would be eligible for the unpaid COVID-19 vaccine leave provided for under the Employment Standards Act.
The legislative debates also provide additional clarity on the types of documentation that constitute “reasonably sufficient proof” that the employee is entitled to the paid leave. The text of the legislation expressly states that an employer cannot require a medical note to satisfy this requirement, but Minister Bains clarified in debate that it may take the form of an email or text message confirmation of a vaccine appointment, or the vaccination card the individual receives at the end of the appointment confirming the vaccination took place.
Notably, Bill 3 does not provide any limit on the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses an employee can utilize this paid leave for. While the COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Canada require two doses to be fully effective, the Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one dose and is expected to be available in Canada soon.
Based upon the commentary at the Legislative Assembly, it is expected that paid COVID-19 vaccine leave will apply to all required doses of the vaccines, as determined by public health, which would presumably include “booster” doses of the vaccines as those become available.
The legislation will remain in effect until repealed by an order of the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
On April 19, 2021 the BC government announced it has introduced Bill 3 which if passed would amend the Employment Standards Act to provide full-time and part-time workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine. A press release announcing the introduction of Bill 3 is accessible … Continued
On April 1, 2021, the British Columbia government announced changes to the Employment Standards Regulation, B.C. Reg. 396/95 (the “Regulation”) which extend the existing “COVID-19 Leave” protections in the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) to include two additional pandemic-related circumstances, including COVID-19 vaccination. In March 2020, the BC ESA was amended to allow employees to take … Continued
The British Columbia government has announced that it will extend the temporary layoff provisions under the Employment Standards Act (“ESA”) to a maximum of 24 weeks until August 30, 2020, where the COVID-19 emergency is a cause of all or part of the layoff. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ESA only permitted temporary layoffs … Continued
The BC Employment Standards Branch recently issued an update on section 65(1)(d) of the Employment Standards Act (the “ESA”) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Section 65 sets out various exceptions to the termination notice requirements in section 63 and the group termination notice requirements in section 64 of the ESA. Section 65(1)(d) provides … Continued
The province of British Columbia has announced a COVID-19 Action Plan to help support people and businesses. The plan dedicates $2.8 billion to help people and $2.2 billion to provide relief to businesses and help them recover after the outbreak. Minister Carole James said the plan is the first step to address immediate needs and … Continued