Table of contents

Status: Bill 71 took effect on April 21, 2021
Ministry responsible: Labour and Immigration

Overview

This leave is for employees who are receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Employees who are quarantining or self-isolating should read about COVID-19 leave.

The Employment Standards Code has been amended to allow all employees to access paid, job-protected leave to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Employees and employers are encouraged to work together when scheduling COVID-19 vaccination leaves.

Key changes

  • All employees covered by the Employment Standards Code can access up to 3 hours of paid leave to get each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine without fear of penalty, loss of pay or reprisal.
  • Employers may provide additional time beyond 3 hours per appointment, if necessary, but are not required to.
  • The leave applies to all full and part-time employees covered by the Employment Standards Code regardless of how long they have been employed.

Notice

Employees need to provide notice to their employer as soon as possible and reasonable in the circumstances when they are taking this leave.

When possible, employees should discuss vaccination leave with their employers prior to booking their appointment.

Employers and employees are encouraged to be flexible with scheduling arrangements, working together to make sure vaccination appointments can happen as soon as possible, while also minimizing disruption in the workplace. This includes attempting to book an appointment, if available, during time scheduled away from work.

Employees do not need:

  • to provide a medical note or record of immunization in order to access this job-protected leave
  • to disclose any health information about underlying conditions to their employer

Pay

Employees are not to lose any earnings or other benefits while accessing the COVID-19 vaccination leave.

Employers cannot force employees to use other entitlements such as vacation pay, banked overtime, or another job-protected leave.

An employee who feels they have not been paid properly can file an employment standards complaint.

Employee eligibility

All full and part-time employees receiving a COVID-19 vaccine are eligible for this leave, regardless of the length of their employment, if they are covered under Alberta’s Employment Standards Code. This includes many employees in Alberta, but employees working in industries regulated by the federal government are covered by the Canada Labour Code, and are not eligible for this leave.

Employees must provide reasonable proof of leave entitlement upon their employer’s request. For example, an employee could provide an appointment confirmation.

Employers cannot request a medical certificate, record of immunization, or health information about underlying health conditions.

Termination of employment

Employees may not be terminated or temporarily laid off for requesting a protected leave, or being on the leave.

Any leave hours not used by an employee do not have to be paid out by the employer if employment terminates.

An employee who feels they have been improperly terminated can file an employment standards complaint.

How the law applies

Job-protected leaves under Bill 71, Employment Standards (COVID-19 Vaccination Leave) Amendment Act, 2021 took effect April 21, 2021, at 7:30 pm.

Section 53.9821 of the Employment Standards Code sets out the rules for COVID-19 vaccination leave.

Resources

COVID-19 vaccination leave fact sheet

Bill 71 Passed: Statement from Minister Copping – April 21, 2021

Paid leave for COVID-19 vaccinations – April 21, 2021

Contact

Connect with the Employment Standards Contact Centre if you have questions or need more information.

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