Alberta Government Announces Paid COVID-19 Vaccination Leave

On Wednesday, April 21, 2021, the Government of Alberta passed Bill 71, Employment Standards (COVID-19 Vaccination Leave) Amendment Act, 2021. Bill 71 took effect the same day.

Under Bill 71, all employees in Alberta (whether part-time or full-time and regardless of how long they have been employed) are entitled to up to three consecutive hours of paid, job-protected leave to obtain each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Additional provisions of this leave include:

  • Employees are required to give their employers as much notice as is reasonable and practicable in the circumstances prior to taking this vaccination leave. The Government of Alberta encourages employers and employees to work together when scheduling vaccination leaves.
  • Although on request employees are entitled to a maximum of three consecutive hours of leave, employers have the prerogative to allow for longer leave if, in their opinion, the circumstances warrant a longer leave.
  • Employers have the responsibility of ensuring that employees taking this vaccination leave do not lose any earnings or other benefits.
  • If requested by their employer, employees must provide reasonably sufficient proof that they are entitled to this leave. However, employees are not required to provide medical certificates, records of immunization or to disclose to their employer any underlying medical conditions to prove entitlement to the leave.

Overall, Bill 71’s amendments to the Employment Standards Code reduces barriers for Albertans to be vaccinated by providing all Albertan employees with paid, job-protected leave to obtain their COVID-19 vaccinations

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Alison Walsh

About Alison Walsh

Alison Walsh is a partner in Denton Canada LLP’s Edmonton Labour and Employment Group. Alison provides labour and employment advice to employers in both non-unionized and unionized settings on a variety of issues. Alison has appeared in the Provincial Court of Alberta and Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta and has also represented employers in various other forums including Alberta Employment Standards hearings and the Alberta Labour Relations Board.

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