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

March 15, 2021

Effective immediately, pursuant to New York Labor Law Section 196-c, all public and private New York State employers must provide employees with up to four hours of paid time off to receive their COVID-19 vaccination. Specifically, the new law provides that:

  1. All New York State employees must receive a paid leave of absence for a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection;
  2. The leave must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay; and
  3. Employers cannot require employees to use other available leave (e.g., other paid sick leave, COVID-19 sick time, or vacation time) before providing this leave.

The new law permits a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) to provide for more than four hours. However, the leave can also be waived under the terms of a future CBA, so long as the waiver includes an explicit reference to the new law. The new law also prohibits discrimination or retaliation against any employee who exercises their rights under the law. The new law is effective until December 31, 2022.

Takeaway for Employers

New York State employers should update their policies to reflect this additional leave entitlement. Employers should also make management aware of this leave right and the relevant non-discrimination and retaliation provisions. Employers that decide to request proof of vaccination should keep confidentiality and privacy issue in mind.

These materials were prepared by Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP prior to their combination with Bond, Schoeneck & King for informational purposes only and are not intended as legal advice or advertisement of legal services. Transmission of the information is not confidential and is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship or an attorney-client privileged communication. You should not act upon any of the information contained in these materials without seeking the advice of your own professional legal counsel.