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Paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination appointments

      Scott Fielding
 
Scott Fielding, Manitoba Finance Minister

With COVID-19 vaccination eligibility now expanded to include all Manitobans 18 years and older, the Manitoba legislature voted unanimously in favour of legislation to encourage workers to get vaccinated.

Finance Minister Scott Fielding introduced the legislation that provides paid COVID-19 vaccination leave on Tuesday, May 11, and it was passed the following day by all three political parties.

The bill entitles employees in Manitoba to up three hours of paid leave to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and expands job protection for an employee who is temporarily unable to work due to circumstances related to COVID-19 or who suffers from side effects after receiving a vaccine.

“We are at a critical point in our fight against COVID-19 and we want to encourage all Manitobans to get their COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” said Fielding. “Our government is removing barriers so Manitobans can confidently book a COVID-19 vaccination during work hours without fear of losing out on their regular wages.”

The new legislation makes it mandatory for employers to allow employees up to three hours of paid leave each time the employee requires a dose of vaccine. The wage rate would be fixed at an employee’s regular wage rate, or the average wage for employees whose wage varies, such as those paid on commission.

Employers would be able to require employees to provide them with reasonable verification of the necessity of the leave as soon as possible, but could not require a physician’s note or medical certificate to avoid an unnecessary burden on the medical system.

Employees who need more time to travel to vaccination appointments or who suffer from vaccine side effects would be allowed to take a longer unpaid leave.

“We’ve heard most employers in Manitoba are already offering paid vaccination leave to their employees, and we thank them for understanding the importance of a vaccinated workforce,” said Fielding. “We all have a role to play in protecting ourselves and our community, and we want to encourage employees and employers to do the right thing.”