As we previously reported, over the past year, New York State has adopted a statewide sick leave law, paid leave for COVID-19 vaccination, and paid quarantine leave.  Last week, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) issued guidance on the use of New York State Sick Leave (NYSSL) as it pertains to employees receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.

Critically, this guidance states that “employers are obligated to honor the employee’s desire to use accrued sick leave for the recovery of any side effects of the COVID-19 vaccination.”  Practically speaking, this means that COVID-19 vaccine side effects are a qualifying reason for an employee to use NYSSL.  In light of this guidance, New York employers should ensure that employees who obtain the COVID-19 vaccine receive appropriate time off for both receiving the vaccine and recovering from any vaccine side effects.

If you have any questions or concerns about this guidance or how it affects your company, Reed Smith’s experienced Labor & Employment Group is ready to speak with you.