B.C. to introduce legislation requiring employers to pay workers who miss shifts for COVID vaccine

Surrey-Newton NDP MLA Harry Bains arrives to the start of the debate at B.C. Legislature in Victoria on June 26, 2017. Workers' compensation benefits in B.C. would be based on a higher maximum salary amount under legislation introduced Tuesday by the provincial government. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito.

The B.C. government is set to introduce legislation on Monday afternoon requiring employees to pay workers who miss work to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

But it is still unclear what measure employees must take to attempt to book a shot not during work hours.

The legislation will also include protection for workers against losing their jobs if they must get a COVID-19 shot during work hours.

Read more: British Columbia considers paid time off for workers to get COVID-19 vaccine

“If you need to take time off work to get vaccinated you will not lose your job or pay,” Labour Minister Harry Bains said.

“Many workers are on paycheque to paycheque and they cannot afford to lose pay to go get vaccinated. People shouldn’t have to make this decision: between pay and getting vaccinated.”

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Bains says the province consulted with unions, employers and First Nations around the new policy.

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British Columbians are legally allowed to have up to four hours paid off work in order to vote in a provincial election. It is unclear when the new policy around the vaccine will come into effect.

“It is recognized when workers are vaccinated, workers benefit from protecting themselves and their families. Businesses benefit by protecting staff and customers from getting sick. And the public benefit from reducing the chance of an outbreak,” Bains said.

British Columbians are currently being advised to take the first vaccine offered to them.

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“The clinical hours are such that most workers will be able to schedule a vaccine outside their working hours,” Bains added.

“But due to some shift schedules, the hours of clinical operations and the locations of those offices, there will be some circumstances where workers need to take time off to go get vaccinated.”

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