‘Nobody should have to choose between getting vaccinated and putting food on the table’
Alberta has passed legislation that will amend its Employment Standards Code to provide workers access to up to three hours of paid, job-protected leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Bill 71 passed just hours after the government announced its plan to bring in the provision.
“By providing choice without consequence, we continue to protect the lives and livelihoods of all Albertans. Nobody should have to choose between getting vaccinated and putting food on the table and with this legislation, nobody will have to,” said Jason Copping, minister of labour and immigration.
The act takes effect retroactive to April 21, 2021.
“I am very proud that we pushed for the introduction and passage of legislation to ensure paid leave for every Albertan to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Today was a good day. Tomorrow, there’s so much work to do,” Rachel Motley, leader of Alberta's New Democratic Party (NDP), said in a tweet.
Christina Gray, an NDP labour critic, also welcomed the development:
“I know the vast majority of Alberta employers recognize that the vaccine is the best way to keep their worksites and establishments safe,” she said after the bill passed, according to a report from Global News.
“This new law now enshrines the rights of all workers to ensure all eligible Albertans can get vaccinated as soon as possible. Alberta’s NDP was proud to propose this legislation to the government and to see through its passage.”
All full-time and part-time employees are eligible for the leave regardless of length of employment, according to the government. However, employees should discuss vaccination leave with employers prior to booking their appointment, it said.
Previously, Saskatchewan amended the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 2020 to give employees paid time off to get vaccinated against COVID-19, effective March 18, 2021. In the private sector, Canada Goose announced it will give all its employees up to four hours paid leave to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.