EDMONTON -- New legislation introduced by the Alberta Government allows paid leave for full-time and part-time employees to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.

According to the government, the amendments are made to the Employment Standards Code and ensures Albertans have three hours of job-protected leave regardless of length of employment.

“Nobody should have to choose between getting vaccinated and putting food on the table,” Jason Copping, the minister of labour and immigration, said.

Bill 71 was introduced into the legislature Wednesday evening, and passed on first reading, meaning it comes into effect immediately.

The move to implement this legislation was initially proposed by the NDP.

"A question was raised by the leader of the opposition and our premier made a commitment that we would look seriously at this issue, which we are,” Copping said.

“Our focus is on getting vaccines out as quickly as possible so we can get through this pandemic and reducing the barriers for some workers who have challenges being able to schedule a time while they're not working and are concerned about losing pay.”

The proposed leave will allow employees to take the time they need away from work without the fear of penalty.

"Getting more people immunized means we're getting closer to opening our economy," Copping added.

To avoid any miscommunication, the government recommends discussing vaccination leave with your employer before booking an appointment.