Manitoba Introduces Paid COVID-19 Vaccination Leave

On May 12, 2021, the Manitoba Government passed Bill 73: The Employment Standards Code Amendment Act (COVID-19 Vaccination Leave).

At the time of publishing, the Employment Standards Code (Manitoba) had not yet been amended to reflect the new COVID-19 Vaccination Leave or the expansion of the Public Health Emergency Leave.

Manitoban workers are now entitled to take up to three consecutive hours of paid time off to receive each dose of their COVID-19 vaccination. This announcement comes as more Manitobans become eligible under Manitoba’s current vaccination program.

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. The paid leave is fixed at an employee’s regular wage rate, or the average wage for employees with varying wages, such as those paid on commission.

The job protection afforded under the Public Health Emergency Leave is now expanded to include leave for employees who experience side effects after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. The unpaid Public Health Emergency Leave applies to employees who are temporarily unable to work due to circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

An employee must provide their employer as much notice as is reasonable and practicable under the circumstances before taking the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave. Further, employers are permitted to require employees to provide reasonable verification of their entitlement to the leave as soon as practicable, though they cannot require an employee to provide a doctor’s note or medical certificate.

This paid COVID-19 Vaccination Leave comes shortly after the Province announced the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program. The program provides up to $600 per employee for a maximum of five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave.

The MLT Aikins labour and employment team would be pleased to assist you with any questions regarding the COVID-19 Vaccination Leave or the Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program.

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.