NEW YORK, NY – Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Peter A. Hatch today announced that the amendment to the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law that provides additional leave for parents to get their kids vaccinated goes into effect tomorrow. In an effort to keeping the city healthy during the pandemic, the amended law has been expanded to provide private sector employees who are covered by the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law with an extra four hours of paid leave per child under the age of 18, per vaccine injection. The time can be used to take their child to get vaccinated or to care for their child if they experience any side effects from the vaccine. The leave is retroactive to November 2, the day when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) approved vaccines for children 5-11 years old. The end of the year commonly leaves workers with low leave balances and it takes time to accrue the leave in the new year so this new additional leave is key to ensuring workers can take off to get their children vaccinated.
“We are proud to help expand NYC’s groundbreaking paid sick leave law, this time so caregivers have enough paid time off to take their kids to get vaccinated, especially now with expanded vaccine mandates for children and as omicron spreads,” said DCWP Commissioner Peter A. Hatch. “I remind employers and employees that current paid sick laws already provides leave for vaccination or side effects, whether your own or a family member’s. This new law is a critical expansion of the number of leave hours available, which is important at the end of the year when workers’ leave balances may be low.”
“The COVID-19 vaccine will help keep our children safe, and right now too many of our youngest New Yorkers remain unvaccinated,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. “I am grateful to the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection for offering parents and caregivers additional leave to get their kids vaccinated. I urge everyone to take the time to get your child vaccinated today.”
In addition to new leave time, private sector workers are entitled to between 40-56 hours of safe and sick leave. Under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, employers with five or more employees and employers of domestic workers in New York City must provide paid safe and sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees and a net income of $1 million or more, and employers with between five and 99 employees must provide 40 hours of paid leave. Employers with 100 or more employees must provide up to 56 hours of paid leave. Employers with fewer than five employees and a net income of less than $1 million must provide unpaid safe and sick leave. Safe and sick leave is accrued at a rate of one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked and begins on the employee’s first day of employment. Employers of five or more employees who do not front-load safe and sick leave on the first day of a new calendar year must allow employees to carry over up to 40 or 56 hours of unused safe and sick leave from one calendar year to the new calendar year, depending on the size of the employer.
If the need to use leave is foreseeable, employers can require up to seven days advance notice to use accrued leave. If the need is unforeseeable, employers may require notice as soon as practicable. Employers can require documentation for more than three consecutive workdays of leave, but it is illegal to require that documentation specify the reason for using it. Employers may not engage in or threaten retaliation against employees, which includes firing and any act that punishes an employee for or is likely to deter an employee from exercising their rights under the Law.
In addition to the City leave for child vaccinations, the state provides leave for employee vaccinations and City leave can be used for booster shots. Under the City’s Temporary Schedule Change Law, employees can also request up to two days of unpaid leave for vaccination or side effects for themselves or to care for a family member.
DCWP’s COVID and Paid Sick Leave provides an overview of all sick leave. Employers and employees can also visit nyc.gov/workers or call 311 (212-NEW-YORK outside NYC) for more information about the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, including the required new Notice of Employee of Rights, which is available in 26 languages, one-page overviews for employers and employees, and the complaint form.
It has never been easier to get a COVID-19 vaccination in NYC. People ages five and older are eligible for vaccination. Vaccines are available at no cost and regardless of immigration status. Vaccine booster shots are now authorized for everyone 16 and older who is fully vaccinated. In a new incentive announced on December 21, if you get your booster dose at a City-run vaccination site by the end of 2021, you can receive a $100 pre-paid debit card. To find a vaccination site, visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder or call 877-VAX-4NYC (877-829-4692), or go to nyc.gov/homevaccine to schedule a vaccination at home.
“With Omicron cases on the rise, it is more important than ever for children age five and up to access safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. It is equally important that working parents and caretakers have access to necessary additional sick leave to accompany their children to their vaccine appointment,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “I am happy to see this law go into effect at a much needed time so that no New Yorker is forced to choose between going to work or protecting the health of their child.”
“Getting paid sick leave to get a vaccine shot is exactly why the program was designed,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer, the original sponsor of the Paid Sick Leave Law. “And getting vaccinated works for everyone—individuals and their families, employers, and the city as a whole. Especially with the rocketing omicron infection rates, employers in the city must do everything they can to make it easy to get the vaccine.”
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 59,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities. For more information about DCWP and its work, call 311 or visit DCWP at nyc.gov/dcwp or on its social media sites, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.
Abigail Lootens | Carmel Agnant
Department of Consumer and Worker Protection