As noted in an earlier blog, on March 12, 2021, New York enacted a new law requiring public and private employers to provide paid leave for any employee receiving a COVID-19 vaccination. Under this law, employers must provide their employees up to four hours (or, if greater, such time as an employee is entitled to receive pursuant to a collectively bargained agreement or as otherwise authorized by the employer) of paid time off per vaccine injection at their regular pay rate.
When the law was enacted, COVID-19 booster shots were not something that was considered necessary, and guidance from the Labor Department contemplated that total paid leave for vaccinations would be capped at eight hours for those taking a two-dose vaccination series. While, as noted above, the statute itself indicates that four hours of leave is available “per vaccine injection, to avoid any doubt, the Labor Department has revised its Frequently Asked Questions to make clear that the law applies to any COVID-19 vaccination received by an employee, including booster shots.
Employers should update their paid vaccine leave policies and practices to include paid time off for booster shots.