Posted: April 28, 2021 by Natalie Tymchuk, Partner and Tracy Zimmer, Student-at-Law

As of April 21, 2021, the Government of Alberta amended the Employment Standards Code. Effective immediately, all working Albertans are allowed to access a minimum of 3 hours paid leave to get each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Some key things to note:

  • this is regardless of length of service;
  • it is available to part-time and full-time employees;
  • employers may provide additional time-off beyond the 3 hours.

This in addition to the other COVID-19 leaves that have been added to the ESC including:

  1. Effective March 5, 2020, all employees are entitled to job protected 14 days unpaid leave if they are required to quarantine due to COVID-19.
  2. Effective March 17, 2020, all employees are entitled to job protected unpaid leave to care for a family member who needs to isolate due to COVID-19 or to care for a child who cannot attend school or childcare due to any COVID-19 directions. This is for any period of time that is necessary to meet that responsibility. Currently, this Personal Family and Responsibility leave for COVID-19 can be accessed until August 14, 2021.

Some key points regarding these two leaves are:

  • both leaves can be taken as many times as necessary;
  • both leaves are available regardless of length of service;
  • both leaves can be taken consecutively with other leaves as required;
  • neither of the above-mentioned leaves require the employee to provide a medical note, but the employee should provide notice as soon as possible;
  • the employer and employee may consider alternative work arrangements if available.

For more information on other amendments to the Employment Standards Code or on vaccination policies in the workplace, please see our previous blogs: Bill 32: Restoring Balance in Alberta's Workplaces Act and Can an Employer Mandate Vaccination in the Workplace?

If you have any questions about the amendments or would like a more detailed discussion of how these changes may affect your business or organization, please feel free to contact our Employment Services Practice Group. Our Employment team can work with you to help ensure that your procedures are aligned with these new standards.

Emery Jamieson LLP