The New York vaccine mandate ends Nov. 1, 2022.
Applying to private employers in New York City, the mandate has been in effect since December 2021, requiring employers to ensure their workers are vaccinated against COVID-19.
New York Mayor Eric Adams announced in late September 2022 that the private-sector vaccine mandate becomes optional Nov. 1, 2022, while at the same time urging businesses to encourage vaccination and booster shots, as well as create self-guided policies regarding COVID-19.
New York Vaccine Mandate Ends
The announcement from the mayor means that, as of Nov. 1, 2022, employers in the Big Apple can have unvaccinated employees at their worksites.
Likewise, New York City employers will not be legally required to ask about the vaccination status of employees or job applicants.
With the news out of New York, there will no longer be any state or large city in the country that mandates all private employers require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Still, it should be noted that employers in New York are allowed to craft their own policies regarding the vaccine. Per the mayor’s announcement:
New York City continues to strongly urge private employers to put in place their own vaccine mandates, as the city will continue implementation of the city worker vaccination mandate for its own employees.
“The mayor’s decision to allow individual employers to determine COVID-19 protocols is most welcome,” Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO, Partnership for New York City, said in a statement. “It will accelerate return to the office and encourage New Yorkers to move beyond the pandemic mentality.”
COVID-19 Employment Laws
The pandemic and its associated employment laws created an extra layer of challenges for employers, especially those that operate across the U.S.
That patchwork of rules and regulations is seemingly drawing to a close, but there are still items for large employers to keep an eye on, especially as it relates to paid leave management.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) provided emergency paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave. Though the FFCRA expired at the end of 2020, it sparked a flurry of new and updated paid leave laws across the U.S. Many of these laws have expired, of course, but there are still several active COVID-19 laws:
- California – Dec. 31, 2022 (recently extended)
- Long Beach, Calif. – Upon recommendation
- City of Los Angeles – End of health emergency
- Los Angeles County – End of health emergency
- Oakland, Calif. – End of health emergency
- Nevada – Dec. 31, 2023
- New York City – Dec. 31, 2022
- New York State – Dec. 31, 2023/end of health emergency (recently extended)
- Philadelphia – End of 2023
- Washington State (food sector) – End of health emergency
- Seattle (gig workers) – End of health emergency
These and other laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic also created a larger discourse about pay for frontline workers, the need for paid leave in general, and other aspects of employment law compliance.
Employers with locations in New York should review their policies in light of the announcement from the mayor.
Plus, in addition to reviewing policies and procedures about COVID-19 vaccination, employers may want to weigh the pros and cons of having a mandate in place. Industry type, employee composition and other items will likely be determining factors in how companies approach a self-imposed vaccine mandate for employees.