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Governor Cuomo Signs Law Granting New York Employees Up to Four Hours of Paid Leave Per Injection for COVID-19 Vaccination

March 18, 2021

As announced here, on March 12, 2021 New York’s Governor Cuomo signed into law a bill, S.2588-A/A.3354-B, granting public and private employees paid leave for “a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection” to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination.  The new law will be codified as Labor Law § 196-c and Civil Service Law § 159-c.

This paid leave is in addition to, and cannot be charged against, any other paid leave the employer provides, including leave under the New York City or New York State paid sick leave laws, paid COVID leave laws, or leave provided under a collective bargaining agreement (CBA). The law took effect immediately upon signing and expires on December 31, 2022.

The law also prohibits discrimination and retaliation against any employee for seeking or using such leave.

Employers may be able to waive the requirement of the law in a CBA that explicitly references the law, but it is not yet clear whether an employer must provide other leave to be used for the same purpose.  The law also does not address whether an employer may require employees to provide advanced notice of the need for leave or documentation showing that they have been vaccinated. The Department of Labor may provide further guidance through regulations or FAQs. We will report on further developments.  

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys if you have any questions.