(Files by Catherine Garrett-MyPGNow)

Full and part-time workers across British Columbia will now have up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of their COVID-19 vaccine starting today (Wednesday).

The province has made changes to the Employment Standards Act, retroactive to April 19.

Bill 3 is now law and ensures that no employee will lose pay if they need time away from work to get vaccinated.

“Guaranteeing paid leave for workers to get vaccinated is an important way to keep workers safe, while reducing risks to businesses,” said Harry Bains, Minister of Labour.

“Workers will be able to protect themselves and their families from this terrible virus, businesses can protect staff and customers from getting sick, and communities will benefit from reducing the chance of an outbreak.”

Bains says the legislation responds to the feedback received during consultations with the business community, labour organizations, Indigenous partners and other stakeholders.

He adds it improves on the regulatory change made on April 1, which provides unpaid job-protected leave for workers to take the time they need to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“This unpaid leave remains in place to supplement the new paid time off, for example to accompany dependant family members to get vaccinated or in the event a worker needs more than three hours of paid leave to travel to their vaccine appointment,” said Bains.

The amendment is intended to support British Columbians through the current COVID-19 pandemic and will be in place until repealed by regulation.