On March 12, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a new law granting employees paid leave time to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. Under this new law (New York State Labor Law §196-C), every employee must be provided a paid leave of absence from his or her employment for a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection. Thus, an employee receiving a two-shot vaccination regimen, such as Pfizer’s or Moderna’s vaccine, is eligible for up to eight (8) hours of paid leave.
This must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay, and cannot be charged against any other leave provided to the employee, such as employer-provided sick leave.
The leave cannot be used to assist another person, such as a friend or relative, to receive the vaccination shot(s). In addition, an employer can request proof of vaccination from the employee.
This new law covers all employees in New York State, except public employees, who are covered by a separate vaccine leave law under New York State Civil Service Law §159-c.
Retaliation against an employee for exercising his or her rights under this new law, including but not limited to termination, is strictly prohibited. Employees who believe their employers may have violated the law should contact the New York State Department of Labor.
The law went into effect on March 12, 2021, and will remain in effect through December 31, 2022.