As we previously reported, earlier this year New York lawmakers passed a law requiring that all Empire State employers provide their employees with up to four hours of paid time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Shortly thereafter, the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) published guidance on the measure, clarifying that: (i) the leave is only available for an employee’s own receipt of the COVID-19 vaccine; (ii) the leave must be paid at an employee’s regular rate of pay; and (iii) the law does not permit employers to substitute other existing leave options available to the employee, including New York State Paid Sick Leave.
Just recently, however, the NYSDOL revised its guidance to confirm that, even though the CDC has not yet incorporated booster shots into its definition of “fully vaccinated” against COVID-19, paid COVID-19 vaccination leave nevertheless “applies to any COVID-19 vaccination received by an employee, including booster shots.” New York employers should immediately update any COVID-related paid sick leave policies to reflect this change.
We will continue to monitor employer obligations and vaccine updates related to COVID-19 in New York. If you have any questions about how these measures impact your workforce, Reed Smith’s experienced Labor & Employment Group is ready to speak with you.