Employers should be mindful of this new leave law understanding that they may not take any adverse action, discriminate, or retaliate against an employee for requesting leave to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
New York passed a law allowing employees a “sufficient period of time” not to exceed four hours per injection (unless the employer authorizes more) of paid leave to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The law is not retroactive to those who received the vaccine prior to March 12, 2021, and is effective until December 31, 2022. While employees may receive a number of other types of leave, the leave for COVID-19 vaccinations may not to be charged against any other leave, including sick leave or any leave provided by a collective bargaining agreement. Employees may only make use of this leave to receive their own vaccine and not to assist others. A collective bargaining agreement may waive the provisions of the law.
Pursuant to the New York Department of Labor Guidance on the law, Employers may require employees to give notice prior to taking leave to receive the vaccine. Employers may also require employees to provide proof of vaccination but should be wary of the interplay between such inquiries and the Americans with Disabilities Act.