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New York City employers are now required to provide employees with paid time off in connection with their children receiving or recovering from side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine. This new law, passed by the New York City Council in November 2021, is retroactive back to November 2, 2021 and will expire on December 31, 2022.
The law provides up to four hours of paid time off for each vaccine injection for each child for the following reasons:
A parent accompanying a child to receive a COVID-19 injection, or
Caring for a child who is experiencing temporary side effects from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine injection.
An employee can use this leave if they are a parent, which means a biological, foster, step or adoptive parent, a legal guardian or a person who stands in loco parentis. The child receiving or recovering from a COVID-19 vaccine injection must be either under age 18 or older than age 18 but incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.
COVID-19 child vaccine paid time off must be paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay. Employers can require advance notice (not to exceed seven days) of an employee’s need to take COVID-19 vaccine paid time off. Additionally, employers can require an employee to provide reasonable documentation, reflecting that the employee’s child received a COVID-19 vaccine injection, within seven days of the employee’s use of COVID-19 child vaccine paid time off.
An employer may not require an employee to work additional hours to make up for the original hours for which the employee was absent or to search for or find a replacement employee to cover the hours during which the employee is absent under this new law.
The paid time off required under this new law is in addition to any paid sick time that the employee is entitled to under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act as well as any paid time off that the employee is entitled to under the New York State law for the employee’s own vaccination.
NYC employers are encouraged to update their leave policies in light of this new law and notify employees of the availability of COVID-19 child vaccine paid time off.