On December 24, 2021, an amendment to New York City’s Earned Safe and Sick Time Act providing for paid leave for employees during their child’s COVID-19 vaccination time went into effect. The amendment, approved by the New York City Council in November 2021, requires private employers covered by the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act to provide four hours of paid leave time (at the regular rate of pay) to employees when they (a) accompany their children to a COVID-19 vaccine injection and/or (b) care for their child who is experiencing temporary side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine injection. The four-hour paid leave is provided per child and per vaccination meaning that an employee with two children could be provided with a maximum of 16 hours of paid time if each child is vaccinated twice.

Under the law, children must be under the age of 18, or an older child who is incapable of self-care because of a mental or physical disability.

An employer may require reasonable advanced notice when employees are planning to use their COVID-19 child vaccination leave time and may also require employees to submit documents verifying their child’s vaccination. Employees are not obligated to work additional hours to make up for originally scheduled hours and do not have to find a replacement to cover their hours. Employers could be liable for a penalty of up to $500 for each instance of failing to provide paid leave to employees.

COVID-19 child vaccination leave time applies to past absences starting from November 2, 2021. The law will be in effect through December 31, 2022.

Employees covered by the law include the following: full-time employees, part-time employees, domestic workers, temporary and seasonal employees, per diem and on-call employees, transitional jobs program employees, undocumented employees, employees who are family members but not owners, employees who live outside of New York City but work in New York City, and owners who are considered employees under New York State Labor Law.