PRESS RELEASE: UFCW 1518 Calls for Front-Line Workers to have Time Off for COVID-19 Vaccines

NEW WESTMINSTER, British Columbia, March 12, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As vaccination efforts ramp up in British Columbia, UFCW 1518 is calling on the provincial government to ensure that front-line workers have the right to take four uninterrupted hours off work when they receive a vaccination appointment.

The proposal is based on federal and provincial laws entitling workers to four hours off work to vote on election day or in advanced polls. These laws help preserve free and fair elections in Canada by ensuring that no one misses the chance to vote because they cannot get time off work.

UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak sent a letter to BC Labour Minister Harry Bains and Health Minister Adrian Dix on Tuesday asking them to grant front-line workers the right to four uninterrupted hours off work to receive their COVID-19 vaccine when the time comes for their appointment. It also asks that the government institute an order that prevents employers from retaliating against any employee that takes time off to get vaccinated.

“Front-line workers in retail, grocery, and industrial food processing environments may not be able to take regular time off in the short turnaround between becoming eligible for a vaccine and receiving an appointment,” said UFCW 1518 President Kim Novak. “We’re asking the government to step in to prevent logistical barriers to vaccination for front-line workers. That means if a front-line worker is scheduled to work on the day of their vaccination appointment, they should be given the time off work they need to get vaccinated.”

In January, UFCW 1518 asked the provincial government to ensure that front-line workers in grocery, retail, community health and home care, and industrial food processing be given early access to COVID-19 vaccines once the most vulnerable populations have been vaccinated. Many workers in community health and home care have been receiving these early vaccinations, helping them to continue supporting elderly and vulnerable British Columbians in their homes.

Phase 3 of the BC COVID-19 vaccination plan makes front-line workers eligible to receive the vaccine ahead of their age group when extra doses are available.

UFCW Local 1518 represents more than 25,000 members working in the community health, hospitality, retail, grocery, industrial, and professional sectors across British Columbia.

Eva Prkachin, Press Secretary
UFCW 1518
604.612.1464 |