A bill signed into law by New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo last week requires public and private employers to give their employees time off to get vaccinated against the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease. The temporary law took effect on March 12 and expires at the end of 2022. You should be aware of these new requirements and apply them to your employees accordingly.
The measure passed the Assembly on Feb. 3 by a vote of 136-13 and the Senate on March 1 by a vote of 62-0. Its key points are:
- It protects every employee and applies to all employers, regardless of size
- Each employee is entitled to a paid leave of absence of up to four hours for each vaccine injection
- The four-hour leave is a minimum; employers may provide more time if they wish or if collective bargaining agreements obligate them to do so
- The paid leave of absence must be at the employee's regular rate of pay
- The employer may not charge the time off against the employee's sick leave
- Collective bargaining agreements that specifically reference New York Labor Law Section 196-C may waive these requirements
- Employers are prohibited from discriminating or retaliating against employees who exercise their rights to this time off
All insurance agencies should immediately start granting their employees' requests for time off to get their first or second COVID vaccinations.