Skip to content

New York State Governor Signs New Legislation that Grants Employees Time Off to Receive Covid-19 Vaccines

April 2nd, 2021 Miheret Hasenu

Last month marks a year since the Covid-19 pandemic fully emerged in the United States. Throughout the course of the last year, significant change has taken place at the state, national, and global levels in efforts to combat the extremity of the virus. As a result, progress has occurred in many sectors, including the transition of schools and jobs to virtual platforms, the implementation of social distancing guidelines and rigid cleaning requirements in businesses, and the mass distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine. The first deliveries of the vaccine began in December, and since then, over 15% of the U.S. population  has been fully vaccinated. More recently, various states, including New York, have appended their eligibility requirements to further expand vaccine distribution.. The state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced to WABC thatall New Yorkers age 30 or older will be able to be vaccinated, and all New Yorkers age 16 or older will be eligible on April 6,” thus ahead of the U.S. President’s deadline by May 1st. 

Information Outlined in the Legislation 

Gov. Cuomo signed legislation this month that grants time off for employees in New York State to receive the Covid-19 vaccine. This new law applies to both public and private employees, allowing them to have up to four hours of excused leave “per injection that will not be charged against any other leave the employee has earned or accrued.” This legislation was set to be effective immediately so that essential employees and residents of New York can get vaccinated as soon as possible and work towards moving to a “new normal post-pandemic world.” The governor addressed that employees should be able to go out and get the vaccine without being concerned about losing wages or yielding the leave they have previously attained at work.

Federal Laws on Reasonable Accommodations and Ensuring Workers’ Safety

In an article published on Personnel Today earlier this year, there is a reference to the obligation employers have to prioritize health and safety in the work environment during this pandemic. This priority is especially important in “enabling vaccination” as it can be a “key step to minimizing the risk of Covid-19 transmission in the workplace.” Apart from adherence to workplace safety conditions that meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards, employers also have to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act in making “reasonable accommodations” for their employees who qualify. In the case of Covid-19 vaccines, granting time off for employees to receive the vaccine may fit into this clause, as not doing so could be a barrier for some employees to continue performing their jobs. 

Seek Legal Assistance Today 

If your employer has failed to provide reasonable accommodations during the Covid-19 pandemic, seek legal assistance from the Working Solutions Law Firm, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.