Brooklyn, NY - Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblyman Charles Fall today introduced legislation, S2588/A3354, that would guarantee public workers four hours off to get vaccinated. As many essential workers now become eligible for vaccination under phase 1A and phase 1B of the New York State rollout -- including first responders, healthcare workers and teachers -- they need time off to ensure they can make their appointments.
Many of these workers, whose efforts sustained New York City through the COVID crisis, need to get vaccinated during the workday. Guaranteeing time off for vaccine appointments will help more eligible workers get vaccinated.
“Our public workers have pulled us through this crisis. Now, it is a matter of both public health and what is right that they have access to the vaccine immediately. They should not have to take personal time or negotiate with an employer to get this important medical care, but rather must have guaranteed time off so they can get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families. With this legislation, we honor our public workers and the many sacrifices they have made and protect public health by making it easy for them to get the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Senator Andrew Gounardes.
“Our public employees keep our city and state running efficiently and securely daily. This has remained a certainty throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now time for us to give back to our public employees and grant them full access - with no time and attendance penalties- to the vaccines available, affording them and their families, peace of mind. I look forward to working with Senator Gounardes in the coming weeks to pass this important legislation for immediate executive action,” said Assemblyman Charles D. Fall.
“It was the right move to prioritize public employees, including education professionals, for the COVID vaccine. Now we need to make sure we remove every possible barrier to getting shots in the arms of everyone who wants one,” New York State United Teachers President Andy Pallotta said. “This legislation would help accomplish that goal by making sure these hardworking women and men can access the vaccine without facing the prospect of using sick or personal time or taking unpaid time off. We thank Sen. Gounardes for recognizing the importance of this issue and look forward to working with the Legislature and governor to quickly get this into law.”