Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations Required in New York

New York employers must give paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination

Following a recent labor law provision, New York employers are now required to give paid leave for the time it takes any employee to get the COVID-19 vaccine. This is applicable to any person, corporation, limited liability company, or association that employs any individual in any industry or business.

Employers are required to grant the leave in addition to existing leave, and that they cannot discriminate against any member of staff requesting time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

How much leave are employees allowed to take for the COVID-19 vaccine?

Section 196-C of the provision states that individual employees are entitled to a paid leave of absence for “a significant period of time” not to exceed four hours per injection.

Employers are, of course, permitted to authorize more time, although four hours per injection is the maximum amount that the law mandates be allowed. With two injections, this would amount to eight hours. Employees are to be paid at their regular rate of pay for this leave.

What are the conditions of the COVID-19 vaccine leave?

The new labor law was created to ensure that every citizen of New York has the opportunity to be vaccinated, and that work hours and requirements do not impede that opportunity.

Employees are only permitted to use this leave to receive the COVID-19 vaccine; it cannot be used for other purposes, even to assist a family member in receiving the vaccine, nor retroactively applied for employees who have already received the vaccine. Employers may also ask employees to give notice of when they are going to take leave to receive the vaccine.

According to FAQs regarding the new law released by the New York State Department of Labor (NYDOL), the law does not prevent an employer from asking for notice or proof of the vaccine. However, if an employer chooses to request this information, they should be mindful of confidentiality requirements.

Are all employees covered by this law?

Public or state employees are covered by a different law; this vaccine leave law applies specifically to the private sector. The law became effective on March 12, 2021, and only people receiving the COVID-19 vaccine after this date are entitled to paid leave. As it stands, this law is set to remain in effect until December 31, 2022.

What should you do if you are denied paid leave under the new law?

All employees have the right to work in a safe environment. A safe workplace follows OSHA standards, as well as pandemic safety standards introduced specifically to protect against COVID-19.

This new provision protects workplace safety by encouraging and allowing more employees to receive the vaccine. Employers who refuse to provide the paid leave or discriminate against employees for choosing to receive the vaccine are breaking the law.

If you are denied paid leave under the new law, or feel as though you are being discriminated against for taking it, Napoli Shkolnik’s COVID-19 lawyers may be able to help.

We’ve dealt with pandemic-related legal issues relating to workers’ compensation, nursing home negligence, and much more. Our skilled lawyers are involved in some of New York’s most significant personal injury and workers’ compensation cases, and we’re dedicated to defending individuals across the country.