New York state recently enacted legislation granting employees paid leave in order to get a COVID-19 vaccine. Now, both private and public employees are entitled to up to four (4) hours of paid leave per injection. The New York State Department of Labor (“NYDOL”) recently issued guidance (the “Guidance”) clarifying the parameters of the new law.
- The paid leave must be used for the employee’s vaccination. The paid leave applies only to the employee’s time off for receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. Employees may not use paid COVID-19 vaccination leave to take time off to assist a family member in getting vaccinated.
- The law does not apply retroactively. The law requires that employers grant paid COVID-19 vaccination leave to “employees receiving vaccinations on or after March 12, 2021.” Therefore, employers are not required to retroactively provide paid time off under the new law or otherwise compensate an employee for time off that was taken to receive a COVID-19 vaccine prior to March 12, 2021.
- Employers can require notice before an employee uses the paid leave. The law does not bar employers from requiring that employees provide notice before taking paid time off to get a vaccine.
- Employers can ask for proof of vaccination. According to the Guidance, the law does not prevent employers from requiring proof of vaccination to receive paid leave. That being said, the Guidance cautions that “employers are encouraged to consider any confidentiality requirements applicable to such records prior to requesting proof of vaccination.”
New York employers should review their policies on paid COVID-19 vaccination leave immediately, based on this new Guidance.