Moms who took maternity leave from BC government jobs while unvaccinated ordered to repay $50,000
( Post Millennial )
During the pandemic, many women in British Columbia's public sector took advantage of the maternity leave benefits made available to them.
Now, those who chose to remain unvaccinated are being asked by the BC government to repay the benefits they received, despite in many cases taking leave prior to the implementation of the mandates.
According to MyPGNow, during the pandemic a top-up benefit was offered to women on maternity leave which paid around 80 percent of their salary. The benefit was given under the condition that employees would return to work on a set date. Those who failed to do so would be liable to pay the money back.
BC's vaccine mandate for public sector employees went into effect on November 8, 2021. As a result, anyone who did not abide by the rule and was not granted an exception was told they would not be welcome back to their jobs, even if they worked from home.
Many women chose not to take the vaccine, and since it was a requirement to work, they were technically in violation of their contracts. This meant they would likely miss their aforementioned return to work date, putting them on the hook for the money they received while on leave.
According to the provincial government, "the vaccination policy stipulates that BC Public Service employees who do not receive two doses of vaccination against COVID-19, or refuse to disclose their vaccination status, and do not have an approved exemption request, are to be placed on a leave without pay for a period of at least three months, after which they may be terminated."
This requirement was not included in the women's original contracts, and thus they were quite surprised to learn it was allowed to be written in after the documents had been signed.
As MyPGNow reports, the union representing the employees released a video detailing the changes to their contracts.
Lawyer John Rogers argued that while employees retain the right to not get vaccinated, but the employer can also "take action," punishing them for that decision.
In the months since, a number of women have come forward with their stories, many of whom are facing repayment orders in the tens of thousands of dollars.