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Alberta NDP calling for paid hours for employees getting COVID-19 vaccine

Last Updated Feb 17, 2021 at 1:11 pm MDT

Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) – Alberta’s Opposition party believes the UCP should pay workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement, the Alberta NDP says it believes the government can support economic recovery by making sure every employee in the province is able to access the vaccine without worrying about money.

That’s why they’re proposing workers who have to leave to receive the vaccine be given three hours of pay, similar to the law that require paid time off for voting in an election.

“Widespread vaccination is the single most important factor in getting our small and medium-sized businesses running again,” said NDP Critic for Labour, Christina Gray. “Whether you work in a restaurant, a movie theatre, or a meat-packing plant, you shouldn’t be worried about losing pay when your turn comes to get vaccinated.

“Every day of hesitation hurts our provincial economy. The government should be aggressively tearing down any barrier that might delay an Albertan from getting their shots.”

The proposal calls for a Ministerial Order to be issued under a section of the Public Health Act that would mandate workers be entitled to receive the paid time off to get the vaccine or to assist a vulnerable family member.

“It’s been two months since Health Minister Tyler Shandro promised Albertans that he was ready, but we still haven’t seen a vaccination plan for the general public,” said Gray.

“I hope that the UCP makes full use of AHS to provide appointments that work for all kinds of schedules. But we know some workers simply won’t be able to look after their families and get the shot without missing work.”

Alberta Health is preparing to offer the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine to health care workers following a disruption in deliveries of the Pfizer vaccine.

The province has already given nearly 150,000 doses of the vaccine as of Tuesday.