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e-Alert: New York Workers May Use Sick Leave for COVID-19 Vaccine Recovery

By June 22, 2021No Comments


On May 27, 2021, the New York Department of Labor (NYDOL) issued guidance clarifying that employees recovering from side effects from a COVID-19 vaccine are covered under the paid sick leave law.


Recent studies have revealed that some workers are avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine due to fear of missing work. The results of these studies have led state officials to expand on guidance initially provided by the Governor’s office in March to include receiving paid sick leave while recovering from a COVID 19 vaccine. (Initial State Guidance)

Current Paid Sick Leave Law:

  • The law allows employees to take sick leave for a mental or physical illness, injury, or health condition.
  • Sick leave may be used regardless of whether the condition is diagnosed or requires medical treatment at the time of the request.

Additional Guidance on Paid Sick Leave Law:  

  • New York State law requires employers to honor requests for leave relating to recovery from COVID-19 vaccines.

Employer Requirements:

  • Employers with five or more employees and/or a net income of $1 million or more must provide paid sick leave.
  • Employers with less than five employees and less than $1 million in net income must provide employees with unpaid sick leave (see Table).

Employer Application of Sick Leave Hours – Net Income Based on Previous Tax Year:

Hours (Paid vs. Unpaid)

Employee Headcount/Net Income

40 Hours Unpaid Sick Leave

4 or Less Employees with Net Income of $1 million or less

40 Hours Paid Sick Leave

4 or Less Employees with Net Income of $1 million or more

40 Hours Paid Sick Leave

5 to 99 employees

56 Hours Paid Sick Leave

100 employees or more

Employers Next Steps

  • HR Knowledge recommends that employers with employees in New York review their existing policies to ensure compliance with the New York Paid Sick Leave law.
  • If you are a Full-Service or Virtual HR client and would like our assistance with updating your policy, please email us.

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This content is provided with the understanding that HR Knowledge is not rendering legal advice. While every effort is made to provide current information, the law changes regularly and laws may vary depending on the state or municipality. The material is made available for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal advice or your professional judgment. You should review applicable laws in your jurisdiction and consult experienced counsel for legal advice. If you have any questions regarding this content, please contact HR Knowledge at 508.339.1300 or email us.