October 24, 2021

Volume XI, Number 297


October 22, 2021

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October 21, 2021

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New York’s COVID-19 Vaccine Law: Employers Now Required to Provide Paid Vaccine Leave

On March 12, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law legislation requiring all employers, both public and private sector, to provide employees with up to four hours of paid time off per injection to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The law took effect immediately.

The law amends the New York State Civil Service Law to grant public officers and employees four hours of leave per injection to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Most notably, the law also adds section 196-c to the New York Labor Law, including similar language for private employees. This means that New York employers are required to provide all employees with paid leaves of absence of up to eight hours to receive a two-dose vaccine. Employers may choose to provide more leave, either through collective bargaining or employer policies.

Employees are to be paid at their regular rate of pay for all leave granted under this law. In addition, employers are prohibited from charging this time against any other leave to which employees are entitled, including New York State paid sick or quarantine leave. The law also bars employers from retaliating against any employee who requests or takes leave to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. However, the law does not provide any guidance surrounding whether employers can provide less than the four hours or eight hours of paid time off if a smaller amount of time is sufficient, or whether employers can request proof of vaccination.

The law will expire and be deemed repealed on December 31, 2022. Employers in New York may wish to review the above requirements to ensure that their practices comply with the obligations articulated in the law.

© 2021, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C., All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 75

About this Author

Kelly Cardin Employment lawyer Ogletree Deakins.

Kelly M. Cardin is an associate in the Stamford office of Ogletree Deakins. Her practice focuses on representing employers in a wide range of disputes, including those involving discrimination and retaliation claims, wage and hour claims, wrongful discharge claims, and claims under the FMLA. Kelly also represents employers in class action lawsuits, often involving wage and hour issues. Additionally, she maintains a commercial litigation practice, representing companies in breach of contract and trade secret disputes, among others. Kelly has represented clients before the...

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Jessica Schild Employment Law Attorney at Ogletree Deakins law firm in New York

Jessica Schild is an associate in the New York City office where she represents management in all aspects of litigation, including class and collective wage and hour actions, discrimination and harassment litigation, as well as handling charges before federal, state, and local agencies.

Ms. Schild is a graduate of the Hofstra University School of Law where she served as Editor-in- Chief of the Hofstra Labor and Employment Law Journal. During law school, she was also a member of Hofstra Law’s Dispute Resolution Society and successfully competed in several external...