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Cuomo: post-vaccine recovery is covered by New York's paid sick leave law

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Posted at 11:57 AM, May 27, 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — In an announcement Thursday morning, Governor Andrew Cuomo said new guidance is being issued by the New York State Department of Labor related to vaccine recovery time and paid sick leave.

According to Cuomo, the new guidance to employers indicates that any recovery period needed by an employee experiencing vaccine side effects can take necessary time off under New York State's Paid Sick Leave law.

The law, which was signed in April of last year, requires all employers with five or more employees or a net income of more than $1 million to provide paid sick leave to employees. Employers with fewer than five employees and a net income below $1 million must provide unpaid sick leave.

Employees started accruing sick leave on September 30, 2020, and were able to start using that leave on January 1, 2021. Sick leave is accrued at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours work. The maximum accrued time varies by employer size:

  • 100 employees or more - up to 56 hours of paid leave per calendar year
  • 5-99 employees - up to 40 hours paid leave per calendar year
  • 0-4 employees & income under $1 million - up to 40 hours unpaid leave per calendar year
  • 0-4 employees & income over $1 million - up to 40 hours paid leave per calendar year

Employees must be paid at their normal rate of pay when using paid leave.

The new guidance for vaccine recovery joins a list of permitted uses for paid sick leave. Permitted uses include mental or physical illness, medical diagnosis and care, and preventive care. There are also "safe leave" uses, including seeking services from a domestic violence shelter or rape crisis center. The full list of permitted uses is available here.

The new guidance for vaccine recovery is in addition to the four hours of paid leave the state requires employers to allow for employees going to vaccine appointments.