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December 9, 2021

Stroock Client Alert

By: Howard S. Lavin, Elizabeth E. DiMichele, GraceAnn Caramico, Patrick J. Morley

The New York City Council passed a bill granting parents or legal guardians of children four hours of paid leave for COVID-19 child vaccination time, per child and per vaccine injection.  The bill, passed by the Council on November 23, will almost certainly be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

As vaccines become more accessible for school age children, New York City employers should be prepared to comply with this legislation, which will take effect retroactive to November 2, 2021 once signed by the Mayor.

New York’s Paid Time Off for Child Vaccination

The bill would amend New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act by requiring all private sector employers to allow an employee who is a parent or legal guardian of a child to take up to four hours of COVID-19 child vaccination time, per vaccine injection, for each child.

Payment Obligations

COVID-19 child vaccination time would be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and would be in addition to the employee’s accrual or use of existing safe and sick time.  Given the retroactive effective date, employers may meet their obligations to employees who have already taken this leave by paying them no later than their next regular pay date after the bill is signed. 

Documentation and Notice

Employers may require an employee to provide documentation demonstrating that their child was vaccinated within seven days of using COVID-19 child vaccination time.  An employer may also require reasonable notice, of up to seven days, of the employee’s need to use COVID-19 child vaccination time if the need is foreseeable.  In instances where the need is unforeseeable, an employer may require the employee to provide notice as soon as practicable.

Prohibition on Make-Up Work Requirements

An employer will not be able to require that an employee who uses COVID-19 child vaccination time work additional hours to make up for the original hours the employee was unavailable, or find a replacement employee to cover their hours, because the employee used COVID-19 child vaccination time. 

 Not Waivable 

Although employers and unions generally may waive the applicability of the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act through their collective bargaining agreement, these requirements cannot be waived. 

Enforcement and Penalties

The bill enables the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to award penalties for the failure to provide COVID-19 child vaccination time. Specifically, for each instance of COVID-19 child vaccination time taken by an employee but unlawfully not compensated by the employer, an employee may be entitled to three times the wages that should have been paid or $250, whichever is greater.  

Employees may also be entitled to $500 for each instance of COVID-19 child vaccination time unlawfully denied or charged against their paid safe and sick time accruals.  The bill contains a sixty-day phase-in period during which the DCWP would give written notice and a cure period before enforcing these penalties against employers.

New York City employers should continue to monitor the bill’s activity and be prepared to amend their employee policies to comply with the bill’s requirements, as the bill will take immediate effect if signed into law by the Mayor.  

December 9, 2021

Stroock Client Alert

By: Howard S. Lavin, Elizabeth E. DiMichele, GraceAnn Caramico, Patrick J. Morley

The New York City Council passed a bill granting parents or legal guardians of children four hours of paid leave for COVID-19 child vaccination time, per child and per vaccine injection.  The bill, passed by the Council on November 23, will almost certainly be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

As vaccines become more accessible for school age children, New York City employers should be prepared to comply with this legislation, which will take effect retroactive to November 2, 2021 once signed by the Mayor.

New York’s Paid Time Off for Child Vaccination

The bill would amend New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act by requiring all private sector employers to allow an employee who is a parent or legal guardian of a child to take up to four hours of COVID-19 child vaccination time, per vaccine injection, for each child.

Payment Obligations

COVID-19 child vaccination time would be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and would be in addition to the employee’s accrual or use of existing safe and sick time.  Given the retroactive effective date, employers may meet their obligations to employees who have already taken this leave by paying them no later than their next regular pay date after the bill is signed. 

Documentation and Notice

Employers may require an employee to provide documentation demonstrating that their child was vaccinated within seven days of using COVID-19 child vaccination time.  An employer may also require reasonable notice, of up to seven days, of the employee’s need to use COVID-19 child vaccination time if the need is foreseeable.  In instances where the need is unforeseeable, an employer may require the employee to provide notice as soon as practicable.

Prohibition on Make-Up Work Requirements

An employer will not be able to require that an employee who uses COVID-19 child vaccination time work additional hours to make up for the original hours the employee was unavailable, or find a replacement employee to cover their hours, because the employee used COVID-19 child vaccination time. 

 Not Waivable 

Although employers and unions generally may waive the applicability of the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act through their collective bargaining agreement, these requirements cannot be waived. 

Enforcement and Penalties

The bill enables the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) to award penalties for the failure to provide COVID-19 child vaccination time. Specifically, for each instance of COVID-19 child vaccination time taken by an employee but unlawfully not compensated by the employer, an employee may be entitled to three times the wages that should have been paid or $250, whichever is greater.  

Employees may also be entitled to $500 for each instance of COVID-19 child vaccination time unlawfully denied or charged against their paid safe and sick time accruals.  The bill contains a sixty-day phase-in period during which the DCWP would give written notice and a cure period before enforcing these penalties against employers.

New York City employers should continue to monitor the bill’s activity and be prepared to amend their employee policies to comply with the bill’s requirements, as the bill will take immediate effect if signed into law by the Mayor.  

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