September 20, 2021

Volume XI, Number 263

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September 20, 2021

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New York State Employees Entitled to Paid Time Off for COVID-19 Vaccinations

Effective immediately, New York State employers must provide employees with up to four hours of paid time off per COVID-19 vaccination. The new law sunsets on December 31, 2022.

The new law provides that:

  1. All New York employees must receive a paid leave of absence for “a sufficient period of time” not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection. In other words, employees may be entitled to up to eight hours of paid time off if receiving a two-injection COVID-19 vaccine;

  2. This leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay; and

  3. Employers cannot require employees to use other available leave (such as sick leave or vacation time) before providing this leave.

The new law applies to both public and private employers, with potential carveouts for employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

In addition to the paid time off requirement, the new law prohibits discrimination or retaliation against any employee who exercises their rights under the law.

The new law is silent as to any retroactive effect, if any. It is also silent as to the types of documentation employers can request from employees seeking this leave.

While some employers already voluntarily provide paid time off to employees for COVID-19 vaccination, New York employers should:

  1. As a best practice, ensure policies are updated to reflect this additional leave entitlement, although the law does not have a policy or specific recordkeeping requirement;

  2. Confirm that no one is required to use available time off under company policy before using this leave;

  3. Communicate this paid time off entitlement to employees;

  4. Decide whether to request proof of vaccination, keeping in mind confidentiality and privacy issues; and

  5. Ensure managers are aware of this leave right and the relevant non-discrimination and retaliation provisions.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 74
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About this Author

Jenifer Bologna Employment Lawyer Jackson Lewis
Of Counsel

Jenifer Bologna is Of Counsel in the White Plains, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C.

Ms. Bologna has extensive experience counseling employers on a variety of employment law issues. Ms. Bologna specializes in assisting employers in meeting the legal and practical challenges posed by federal and state laws protecting injured and ill employees, the most notable being the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. In addition to counseling and training employers, Ms. Bologna represents management in workplace litigation in both...

914-872-6869
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Richard Greenberg is a Principal in the New York City, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He advises both unionized and union-free clients on a full-range of labor and employee relations matters.

With respect to traditional labor matters, Mr. Greenberg represents clients in collective bargaining negotiations, labor disputes, grievances and arbitrations, proceedings before the National Labor Relations Board, and in state and federal court. Mr. Greenberg also advises clients on the legal aspects of remaining union-free....

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Sarah R. Skubas is an Associate in the Hartford, Connecticut, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. Her practice is focused on employment litigation, preventive counseling and labor relations.

Ms. Skubas defends employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wage and hour violations and state and federal FMLA violations. She also assists employers in providing preventive counseling, preparing employee handbooks and policies and procedures, advising on such personnel matters as hiring and firing, performance management, internal investigations and...

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Henry S. Shapiro is an Associate in the Long Island, New York, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. His practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counsel.

While attending law school, Mr. Shapiro was the Senior Articles Editor for the Hofstra Law Review and he became a certified mediator in New York State. Mr. Shapiro completed a Concentration in Labor & Employment Law while in law school.

Prior to joining Jackson Lewis, Mr. Shapiro was an Associate at a Long Island...

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