Hundreds of B.C. public workers on unpaid leave after failing to meet vaccine requirement
While the vast majority of B.C. public servants have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, hundreds of workers are now on unpaid leave for failing to provide proof of vaccination.
On Tuesday, the province announced 432 employees, or roughly 1.13 per cent of all public service workers in B.C., were on unpaid leave after they declined to get vaccinated or refused to disclose their vaccine status to the province.
In contrast, about 97 per cent of employees have been fully vaccinated against the virus, according to the province.
Another 1.15 per cent, or 439 workers, are partially vaccinated and have 35 days to receive their second dose, while 0.72 per cent of public servants, some 274 people, have requested an accommodation on medical or other protected grounds.
Accommodations are now being reviewed on a case-by-case basis, according to the province.
"As one of the largest employers in the province, the BC Public Service requires that all direct government employees be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment," said the province Tuesday.
"The policy applies to all employees working for the BC Public Service regardless of whether the employee works onsite or remotely."
The province says workers who are not vaccinated, or who are partially vaccinated and fail to get their second dose within 35 days, will be placed on unpaid leave for three months. After that, the province says that employees may be terminated.
"The proof of vaccination policy remains in effect until public-health concerns regarding COVID-19 are reduced to a level, prescribed by government, to enable workplaces to operate without restrictions or a vaccination requirement," said the province.
In late October, B.C. officials announced that more than 4,000 health-care workers were on unpaid leave for being unvaccinated.
Across the province, about 97 per cent of health-care workers were fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of late October, though specific proportions vary by health region.