Additional school districts have begun scheduling COVID-19 vaccinations and the vaccine will be available for all K-12 and early learning staff. The following is some background and guidance about this long awaited and very welcome news.
Advocacy brings positive outcome
The CUPE K-12 Presidents Council and CUPE National staff have been advocating and working with the Ministries of Education and Health to ensure that everyone in the education system who is able to receive a vaccine, can get one. We are proud that this advocacy has resulted in a positive outcome.
We are also extremely pleased with the announcement by the Ministry of Labour today that they have introduced amendments to the Employment Standards Act that, if passed, will provide all workers with up to three hours of paid leave to get each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. If passed, the effective date will be retroactive to April 19, 2021.
We have been advocating on behalf of members so that they do not have financial barriers to getting vaccinated.
Addressing differing policies
Regional health authorities will be working with districts in determining eligibility for vaccinations. In districts or regions where vaccine is not offered to all K-12 and early learning staff, we are asking CUPE locals to work with their CUPE National Representative so that we can bring these examples forward and increase our advocacy on behalf of those members.
Districts are stepping up to do the right thing
CUPE has broadly supported and encouraged members to be vaccinated. Various districts have found ways to achieve this without members incurring a loss to their pay or sick time.
Delta School District has maintained pay for CUPE 1091 members who are scheduled to be vaccinated during work hours. The Vancouver School Board and Richmond SD38 are scheduling vaccinations outside of work hours so that CUPE 15 and CUPE 716 members respectively, do not lose pay to be vaccinated. We applaud these employers for demonstrating leadership and support of good public health policy.
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