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.


As the law continues to evolve on these matters, please note that this article is current as of date and time of publication and may not reflect subsequent developments. The content and interpretation of the issues addressed herein is subject to change. Cole Schotz P.C. disclaims any and all liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this publication to the fullest extent permitted by law. This is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship. Do not act or refrain from acting upon the information contained in this publication without obtaining legal, financial and tax advice.  For further information, please do not hesitate to reach out to your firm contact or to any of the attorneys listed in this publication.