New York Enacts Vaccine Leave Law

Date   Mar 18, 2021

Executive Summary: On March 12, 2021, New York State enacted an amendment to the New York Labor Law and the New York Civil Service Law, which provides for four hours of paid leave time, per injection, to obtain a COVID-19 vaccination. The amendment states that both public and private employers must provide employees with a “sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection” to obtain the vaccine. The law bars employers from discriminating against or retaliating against any employee who takes or requests paid COVID-19 vaccination leave, or otherwise exercises their rights under the law.

Employers must pay their employees their regular rate of pay, and the time off cannot be charged against any other leave to which the employee is entitled, including COVID-19 sick leave. Employees’ rights under collective bargaining agreements (CBA) shall not be diminished. If a CBA already provides for time off not including to obtain a vaccine, employers must provide for the more generous four-hour allotment for paid time off. A CBA may explicitly waive the provisions of the law going forward.

The law takes effect immediately and expires on December 31, 2022. It is silent as to any retroactive application, i.e., whether the law applies to time taken off for vaccinations before the law’s effective date. The law also does not clarify whether employers may request documentation from employees seeking leave. The State is expected to issue further interpretive guidance on these nuanced issues soon.

Employers’ Bottom Line: Private and public employers are encouraged to update their existing policies to ensure compliance with the new law. Employers should train their supervisory employees on the effects of the new law and how to handle employees’ requests for leave to obtain their COVID-19 vaccinations.

If you have any questions regarding the issues addressed in this Alert, please contact the authors, Phil Davidoff, partner in our New York City office at and Jeff Shooman, counsel in our New York City and Berkeley Heights offices at Of course, you can also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.