Do I Have to Provide Leave for Vaccination?


Maybe! It depends on your state.

New York, California, and Philadelphia have all rolled out vaccine leave – mandating employers to provide at the very least a reasonable amount of time for employees to attend each vaccination appointment.

New York’s law requires employers to provide up to four hours of paid leave per appointment as needed.

California’s new Supplemental Paid Leave mirrors the Emergency Paid Sick Leave provisions under the FFCRA, without the tax credit.

What about Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is also considering adding a COVID-19 specific Supplemental Paid Sick Leave – but the Governor and the Legislature have not yet come to an agreement. If this supplemental leave does pass, it will likely look like the Emergency Paid Sick Leave under the FFCRA.

Currently, Massachusetts employers must provide sick leave under the Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave law. Employees are eligible to take their Massachusetts Earned Sick Leave for:

  1. Vaccination Appointments, as well as
  2. Any Illness/Side Effects from Receiving the Vaccine.

If you are requiring your employee to be vaccinated in Massachusetts, you may need to pay them for the time spent getting the vaccine according to the Attorney General. You will need to pay your employee if you require employees to receive the vaccine at a specific location and/or on a specific date. If you are simply requiring proof of vaccine, but are not mandating when/where/how employees obtain it, you will likely not need to pay employees for vaccination appointments.

It’s Highly Recommended to Provide Paid Vaccine Leave

The CDC recommends employers all provide paid sick leave to attend vaccination appointments, especially as a way to encourage employees to get the vaccine.

Unlike other forms of incentives, paid leave for vaccination will not run up against wellness program restrictions. The EEOC has noted that employers may generally offer no more than de minimis incentives to encourage employees to take part in a program that asks them to provide medical information.

If you are considering mandating or providing additional leave for vaccination, our fixed fee COVID-19 Vaccination Policy Package includes a model vaccination policy, as well as waiver forms for employees who may need an exemption from being vaccinated.

What about the FFCRA?

As of April 1, 2021, employers with less than 500 employees had the option to extend the FFCRA paid leaves. Employers are also eligible to receive a tax credit for any qualifying leave taken.

The Emergency Paid Sick Leave extension allows employees to take leave for:

  1. Vaccination appointments, as well as
  2. Any side effects from receiving the vaccine.

Whether you are required to provide leave for vaccination or not – allowing employees to use current sick leave or providing additional leave for vaccination will go a long way in ending the Pandemic and getting the workplace into the new normal.

Have questions on vaccinations and leave? We can help!