The Business Council of New York State, on behalf of its early 2,300 members, opposes this provision of the budget legislation that potentially provides up to 8 hours of paid leave for employees to use to receive COVID-19 vaccine injections.
New York employers have led the way in the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19. Statistics show that the workplace has not been a significant source of spread. Further, employers recognize the fastest way to economic recovery - their own and that of the state as a whole - is to vaccinate as many workers as possible.
Most importantly, employers have already adapted to providing significant additional state and federal paid leave to employees impacted by the virus. In addition to ongoing federal COVID paid sick leave benefits, the state has imposed significant leave requirements on all employers. As an example, on January 20 the Commissioner of Labor issued guidance regarding the state’s COVID Paid Sick Leave benefit that, in essence, provides unlimited employer paid leave for employees impacted by the virus.
Another paid time off mandate on employers of all size is a step too far. All employers are now subject to the state’s new paid sick leave mandate (above and beyond mandated COVID paid sick leave), a mandate that provides up to 40/56 hours of paid leave for a wide variety of reasons. An employee who wishes to take leave for the purpose of vaccination would have access to this leave.
An additional time off mandate will do nothing more than exacerbate essential employers’ ability to staff their business and meet customer needs. In addition, the administrative and actual cost of providing this benefit would create an additional barrier to recovery for employers suffering through the most difficult economic climate in recent memory.
For these reasons, The Business Council opposes Part W of this budget legislation.