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Do Employers Have to Pay for Time Off to Get Vaccinated?

Owning a business in New York just got a little more complex with a new state law mandating employers to provide paid leave to employees for their COVID-19 vaccinations.


This law came into effect on March 12, 2021 and expires December 31, 2022. As per the law, New York employees must be given a sufficient period of time to get their COVID-19 vaccinations done (a minimum of 4 hours per vaccine injection is the time required by law). But employers are free to allow more time off if they choose.


Who does this law apply to?

Apart from the obvious answer (which is all private employers), it applies to a few public officers too including:

  • Public officers and employees of public authorities

  • State, country, and municipal employees

  • Employees of community colleges and public school districts

  • Employees of public benefit corporations, and

  • Employees in the state and local employees’/teachers’ retirement system.

Since you, dear reader, are most likely a small business owner in the state of New York, this law certainly applies to you. What does this mean in terms of compensation? You’ll have to pay your staff who choose to get vaccinated the regular rate of pay during their leave. The interesting point to note is that you can’t deduct a COVID-19 vaccination leave from the regular state-mandated paid leave or any other leave to which your employees are entitled.


A further requirement by this law is similar to the Title IX harassment laws that prohibit employers from retaliating against employees for exercising their rights. In other words, you cannot fire, penalize or discriminate against your employees for utilizing paid leave to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.


These laws constantly update and require employers to stay on top of them in order to remain in compliance. But apart from that, you have a responsibility to care for both your employees and business. NY Small Health helps you look out for your team by connecting you to insurance coverage that your business will actually use. NYSH works with high-rated insurance companies like Capital District Physicians Health Plan (CDPHP) to bring you the lowest rates in New York.


Contact your experts at NY Small Health to find out more!

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