On April 27, the BC government’s amendments to the Employment Standards Act were passed providing employees with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their vaccine. The amendments are retroactive to April 19, 2021.
Pursuant to the amendments, if requested by their employer, an employee must provide reasonably sufficient proof that they are entitled to the leave. However, an employer must not request a note from a medical practitioner, nurse practitioner or registered nurse for the purposes of a request for this leave.
As discussed in a previous communique, the BC Government has already amended the Employment Standards Regulation, BC Reg 396/95, to create an unpaid leave for employees who require leave to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to assist a dependant who is being vaccinated against COVID-19. This unpaid leave remains in effect, along with the new paid leave, so that employees can accompany dependant family members to get vaccinated, or if they need more than the three hours of paid leave to obtain their vaccine.
British Columbia is the third province to provide for paid COVID-19 vaccination leave after Saskatchewan and Alberta. Ontario is expected to introduce similar legislation on April 29, 2021. We will continue to provide you with updates as they arise.