Guidance Issued on Paid Leave for COVID-19 Vaccinations 

Situation Report | April 5, 2021

The state Department of Labor has posted guidance on recently passed legislation that requires employers to provide paid leave for COVID-19 vaccinations. 

The guidance is here in the form of Frequently Asked Questions.

Under this law, employees must be provided a paid leave of absence from their employer for a sufficient period of time, up to four hours per vaccine injection, unless a higher number of hours is provided by the employer or authorized by a collective bargaining agreement.

According to the FAQs:

  • The maximum number of hours that an employee is entitled to paid leave depends on the number of required COVID-19 vaccine injections. If a COVID-19 vaccine requires two injections, then the employee would be entitled to two periods of paid leave of up to four hours each (which could be up to 8 hours in total).
  • The paid leave is only available to employees for their own receipt of COVID-19 vaccine, not to assist a relative or another person to obtain a vaccine.
  • Employees must be paid at their regular rate of pay.
  • The law does not permit employers to substitute other existing leave options available to the employee, including sick leave under state law or leave provided by a collective bargaining agreement.
  • The law does not prevent an employer from requiring notice before taking this paid leave.
  • The law does not prevent an employer from requiring proof of vaccination. However, employers are encouraged to consider any confidentiality requirements applicable to such records prior to requesting proof of vaccination.
  • This law does not create any retroactive benefit rights and only employees receiving vaccinations on or after March 12, 2021 are eligible for paid leave. However, nothing in the law prevents employers from voluntarily providing employees with such benefits retroactively.