As we previously reported, effective December 27, 2021, all private sector employers in New York City will be required to implement a mandatory vaccination policy for their workers. Today, guidance was issued clarifying this new mandate and related employer obligations. We have summarized what you need to know about this guidance below.
Clarification on the vaccination requirement
By December 27, employers must require all workers to provide proof that they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (For the purposes of this mandate, a “worker” is a full- or part-time staff member, employer, employee, intern, volunteer, or contractor of a covered entity.) Employers will be required to verify and maintain a record of each worker’s proof of vaccination. In addition, by December 27, employers must complete an affirmation of compliance with this requirement and post it in a public place.
By February 10, 2022, employers must require that all workers provide proof that they have received a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (for Pfizer or Moderna vaccines). If such proof is not provided, the worker must be excluded from the workplace until they can provide such proof, unless an exception applies (as detailed below).
In addition, the guidance confirms the following critical points:
- The mandate pertains to New York City workplaces and a worker’s residence is not relevant to its applicability.
- Employers are not required to fire or discipline workers who refuse to comply with this mandate. Rather, the guidance indicates that “[a]s long as you keep the worker out of the workplace, it is your decision whether to discipline or fire such worker, or if the worker can contribute to your business while working remotely.”
- Employers with multiple business locations must post the affirmation of compliance in a conspicuous location in each business location. However, vaccination and reasonable accommodation records may be stored in one central location, provided that each business location has contact information available to offer to City inspectors to put them in touch with the business representative who is centrally storing such records for the business.
- Employers may adopt a vaccination policy that is stricter than the requirements of the New York City order, as long as it is not discriminatory or otherwise unlawful.
- Coworking spaces must comply with this mandate vis-à-vis their renters.