Manitoba to mandate paid leave for worker COVID-19 vaccinations

Manitoba workers will be able to take a three-hour paid leave to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, Finance Minister Scott Fielding announced Tuesday.

Fielding said the province is making changes to the Employment Standards Code in order to encourage as many Manitobans as possible to get vaccinated.

“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.”

Read more: COVID-19 — Winnipeg parent applauds approval of Pfizer vaccine for youth aged 12 to 15

Although the proposed changes would make it mandatory for employers to let their workers take paid leave to get vaccinated, they would also be able to require what the province described as “reasonable verification of the necessity of the leave as soon as possible” — but doctor’s notes won’t be required out of concerns they’ll burden the medical system.

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Employees will be required to receive their regular wage rate, or an average wage rate for workers with variable wages (for example, those on commission).

“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.”

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