Employers in New York are now required to provide up to four hours of paid leave in order to obtain COVID-19 vaccinations.
The governor signed the bill – New York Labor Law Section 197-c – on March 12, 2021, and it is effective immediately. The bill requires that private employers provide “a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection” for employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations, unless the employer or any applicable collective bargaining agreement provides for more paid leave.
It’s important to note the language of the bill, i.e. “per vaccine injection,” denotes that the employee would actually be entitled to up to eight hours of paid leave for those COVID-19 vaccines that require two separate vaccinations.
Employees are to be compensated at their regular rate of pay. The four hours of vaccination paid leave cannot be deducted from any other sick leave the employee is entitled to receive (including leave derived from other COVID-19 legislation or orders).
The New York DOL released an FAQ on March 21 that answered a number of outstanding questions, including clarifying that employers may indeed require proof of vaccination (while taking into account applicable privacy considerations); employers can require advanced notice of vaccination leave; and that employers must only provide paid leave for the “sufficient period of time” in which an employee is absent from work (not exceeding four hours).
Disclaimer: The information contained herein is not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Employers should closely monitor the rules and regulations specific to their jurisdiction(s) and should seek advice from counsel relative to their rights and responsibilities.