Manitoba introduces three-hour paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination appointments
“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 proposed amendments would make 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 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.”
Fielding noted the proposed changes align with other Western Canadian provinces and received support from Manitoba’s Labour Management Review Committee, an advisory body with representatives of employer and labour organizations.
This paid vaccine leave complements the recently announced Manitoba Pandemic Sick Leave program, which is a voluntary program to reimburse eligible employers for providing paid time off to employees who are absent for reasons related to COVID-19. The program covers up to $600 per employee for a maximum of five full days of COVID-19 related sick leave. ■