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March 17, 2021

New York State laws amended to provide time off with pay to receive COVID 19 vaccination for employees in public sector and in the private sector

With respect to employees in the public sector,* New York State's Civil Service has been amended by adding a new section, §159-c, to read as follows: 

§159-c. Leave time for COVID-19 vaccination. 1. Every public officer,  employee of this state, employee of any county, employee of any community college, employee of any public authority, employee of any public benefit corporation, employee of any board of cooperative educational services (BOCES), employee of any vocational education and extension board, or a school district enumerated in section one of chapter five hundred sixty-six of the laws of nineteen hundred sixty-seven, employee  of any municipality, employee of any school district or any employee of a participating employer in the New York state and local employees' retirement system or any employee of a participating employer in the New Yorkstate teachers' retirement system shall be entitled to absent himself or herself and shall be deemed to have a paid leave of absence from his or her duties or service for a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection, unless such officer or employee shall receive a greater number of hours pursuant to a collectively bargained agreement or as otherwise authorized by the employer, to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

2. The entire period of the leave of absence granted pursuant to this  section shall be excused leave and shall not be charged against any other leave such public officer or employee is otherwise entitled to.

3. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to impede, infringe, diminish or impair the rights of a public employee or employer under any law, rule, regulation or collectively negotiated agreement, or the rights and benefits which accrue to employees through collective bargaining agreements, or otherwise diminish the integrity of the existing collective bargaining agreement.

With respect to employees in the private sector, New York State's Labor Law has been amended by adding a new §196-c to read as follows:

§196-c. Leave time for COVID-19 vaccination. 1. Every employee shall be provided a paid leave of absence from his or her employer for a sufficient period of time, not to exceed four hours per vaccine injection, unless such employee shall receive a greater number of hours pursuant to a collectively bargained agreement or as otherwise authorized by the employer, to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

2. The entire period of the leave of absence granted pursuant to this section shall be provided at the employee's regular rate of pay and shall not be charged against any other leave such employee is otherwise entitled to, including sick leave pursuant to section one hundred ninety-six-b of this article, or any leave provided pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.

3. The provisions of this section may be waived by a collective bargaining agreement, provided that for such waiver to be valid, it shall explicitly reference this section of law.

*  See also Chapter 78 of the Laws of 2021 establishing a Coronavirus Disease 2019 [COVID-19] public employee death benefit for individuals who reported to their usual place of employment or an alternate worksite at the direction of their employer on or after March 1, 2020 and such individual contracted COVID-19 within 45 days of reporting to such workplace as confirmed by a laboratory test or by a licensed physician and such individual died on or before December 31, 2022.

Both Chapter 77 and 78 are now in effect and will be "deemed repealed" effective December 31, 2022.

 

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