Effective immediately, New York employers are required to provide a paid leave of absence for a “sufficient period of time” not to exceed four hours to any employee who requires time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. The amount of paid leave that must be provided is per vaccine shot, so employees may receive up to 8 hours of paid time off in total if they receive a two-injection COVID-19 vaccine. The leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and is in addition to New York Paid Sick Leave and any leave provided by an employer’s paid time off policies. This law only requires paid leave for work hours missed for the COVID-19 vaccination. It does not require employees to compensate employees for obtaining the vaccination outside of normal work hours.
This new law applies to all New York employers, regardless of size, and affords paid time off to all classifications of employees. The new law is in effect through December 31, 2021.
While some employers were already providing paid time off to employees for the COVID-19 vaccination, this new law makes clear that employers may not rely on their current paid time off policies or New York Paid Sick Leave to cover this leave. To ensure compliance with this new leave requirements, we recommend the following:
Notify employees of the new leave entitlement, including any documentation that will be required by the employer to receive the paid leave (e.g., proof of appointment date, time and location).
While the law does not address retroactive application, consider reimbursing employees who already used accrued time off or took unpaid leave to attend a vaccination appointment in the interest of fairness.
Document employees’ use of paid time off for vaccination appointments.
Notify managers and supervisors of this new leave entitlement and the prohibition on discrimination and retaliation for taking time off to receive the vaccination.
If we can answer any questions regarding this update on COVID vaccine pay or further support you during this time, please feel free to reach out us at: 518-917-3105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.