City Vaccine Mandate Takes Effect

On December 27, 2021, New York City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private sector employees took effect. This mandate applies to all employers, regardless of size. Related guidelines were issued by the Department of Health (DOH) to assist employers with compliance.

Under the mandate, employees in New York City who perform in-person work or interact with the public must show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine (unless they have requested an accommodation for medical or religious reasons). For two-dose vaccines, employees then have 45 days to show proof of their second dose. The acceptable forms of proof for this purpose are specified. The DOH materials also include some guidance for employers regarding the handling of reasonable accommodation requests.

Employers are required to maintain confidential records of employee vaccinations or requests and records of reasonable accommodations. Unvaccinated employees may not be permitted to report to their physical workplace unless they have requested an accommodation. Employers are also required to publicly post a signed affirmation of compliance with the vaccine mandate. The guidelines provide a certificate for this purpose.

Affected employers should be familiar with the DOH guidelines, which include a hotline number for small businesses seeking assistance with the requirements. Compliance questions and concerns should be directed to employment law counsel.

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