As the number of people who received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine continues to rise and New York State moves to expand eligibility, Governor Cuomo signed the New York State Paid Covid-19 Vaccine Leave into law, which became effective immediately. The law sunsets December 31, 2022.
Employers are now required to provide employees with:
- “a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours” per vaccine dose, to be vaccinated for Covid-19.
- This time must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay for the entire leave period.
- The new law also prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against employees who request or take a leave of absence to be vaccinated, or who otherwise exercise their rights under this law, under which, employees will be granted up to 4 hours of excused leave per injection that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued.
The new law applies to both public and private employers, with potential carveouts for employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.
Neither the New York State Department of Labor not the New York State Department of Health have yet to publish employer guidelines or postings. However, since the law went into effect immediately, employers must provide Paid Covid-19 Vaccine Leave immediately. Until guidelines are published employers must communicate that employees are entitled to this benefit, confirm that no one is required to use available time off under company policy before using this benefit, and confirm managers are aware of this leave right as well as the non-discrimination and retaliation provisions.
Lastly, whether requiring proof of vaccination or not, employers should be cognizant privacy and confidentiality issues regarding employee health and medical information.
New Yorkers will be able to schedule appointments by utilizing the Am I Eligible website or by calling the state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Hotline at 1-833-NYS-4-VAX (1-833-697-4829). To help navigating appointments at both state and NYC run sites, the TurboVax bot has been an invaluable resource.