Today, Governor Cuomo signed into law (A.3354-B), sponsored by Assemblyman Charles D. Fall (D-Richmond). The enacted law gives public and private employees up to four hours paid leave per-COVID-19 vaccine injection. Senator Gounardes (D- Kings) sponsored and passed the companion bill, (S.2588-A) in the New York State Senate.
The leave is available for when an employee has a vaccine appointment scheduled during their work hours and will need the necessary time off to attend their appointment. For public employees, this law follows the same framework as the cancer screening leave policy under current Civil Service Law, which provides up to 4 hours of pay to public employees to undergo cancer screening.
In addition, there are multiple examples under the Labor Law where employees are provided a leave of absence for health-related reasons, such as, bone marrow, organ and blood donations. This law does not prevent any employee from receiving a greater number of hours for this purpose pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement or as otherwise authorized by their employer. This would allow unions to negotiate a better leave option for their members. Moreover, for private sector employees, this benefit may be waived by a collective bargaining agreement.
Finally, there are no specific requirements set forth in the new law for employees to provide proof. However, there is nothing preventing an employer from requiring proof from an employee to demonstrate that such leave is needed for purposes of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This law goes into effect immediately and will expire December 31, 2022.
“The quicker and more efficient we can get residents of New York vaccinated, the faster we can reopen businesses, further extend business hours in a safe manner and once again achieve normalcy in our daily lives.
We all realize that the vaccine roll-out has not been smooth, to date, but with the federal administration bringing forth a clear plan to get vaccine in arms, this law ensures that hardworking New Yorkers are not forced to choose between losing wages and receiving their vaccination.” said Assemblyman Charles D. Fall.