Alberta Announces Paid COVID-19 Vaccination Leave

On April 21, 2021, The Alberta Government passed Bill 71: Employment Standards (COVID-19 Vaccination Leave) Amendment Act, 2021.

Additional details with respect to the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave in Alberta became publicly available on April 22, 2021. Bill 71 adds a new section to the Alberta Employment Standards Code (section 53.9821) which confirms that the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave applies to employees and employers under the Code.

This announcement comes as more Albertans become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine under Alberta’s current vaccination program.

The amendments under Bill 71 entitle employees to three consecutive hours paid leave to attend to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. The COVID-19 Vaccination Leave will be available to all employees, regardless of job status and how long they have been employed by their employer. Similar to other job protected leaves in Alberta, employers will be prohibited from terminating or disciplining any employee who chooses to take the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave. Albertans will be entitled to take the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave twice to receive if they receive a COVID-19 vaccine that requires two doses. Employers may provide more than three hours if in the employer’s opinion the circumstances warrant a longer leave period.

Before taking the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave, employees must provide their employers with as much notice as reasonable and practicable in the circumstances. Employers are entitled to ask employees to provide reasonably sufficient proof that they are eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave; however, this does not include a medical certificate or record of immunization. Further, an employee is not required to disclose any underlying medical conditions to their employer in order to become eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave.

Bill 71 received first reading on April 21, 2021 and came into force at that time.

The MLT Aikins labour and employment team would be please to assist you with any questions regarding the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave.

Note: This article is of a general nature only and is not exhaustive of all possible legal rights or remedies. In addition, laws may change over time and should be interpreted only in the context of particular circumstances such that these materials are not intended to be relied upon or taken as legal advice or opinion. Readers should consult a legal professional for specific advice in any particular situation.