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Know Your Rights: COVID-19 Vaccination Leave

Workers who need time off to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, recover from related side effects, or help family members receive the COVID-19 vaccine may be entitled to paid leave. Workers protected under any one of the 34 permanent paid sick time laws in the U.S. can also use their sick time to receive and recover from the vaccine and help loved ones receive and recover from the vaccine. This fact sheet covers laws at the federal, state, and local level that may help workers access paid leave in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

I. Permanent Paid Sick Time and the COVID-19 Vaccine

Workers Protected Under Any of the Paid Sick Time Laws Nationwide Can Use Accrued Sick Time in Relation to the COVID-19 Vaccine

Various states and localities (listed below) across the country have passed permanent paid sick time laws, which allow workers to earn paid sick time based on hours worked. Generally, permanent paid sick time can be used for several purposes, including to recover from physical or mental illness or injury and to seek preventive care. Thus, workers are likely able to use their accrued permanent paid sick time under these laws to receive the COVID-19 vaccinerecover from related side effects, and help covered family members access and recover from the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information on your sick time rights under these laws, click here.

Additionally, Illinois, MaineNevada, Bernalillo County, NM, and West Hollywood, CA have enacted paid time off laws, which provide covered workers with paid time off that can be used for any reason, including reasons related to the COVID- 19 vaccine. For more information, click here.

II. COVID-19 Vaccination Leave Laws and Emergency Paid Sick Leave

Emergency Paid Sick Time in Response to COVID-19 and Public Health Emergencies

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several states and localities throughout the country enacted emergency paid sick time laws, which grant workers sick time to use for purposes related to COVID-19 or public health emergencies in general. While many are no longer in effect, a list of emergency paid sick time measures, including now expired measures, is available here.

Vaccination Leave for Essential Workers and Government Employees

Localities have enacted laws regarding paid time off for obtaining the COVID-19 vaccine.

  • In Chicago, employers that require workers to be vaccinated must pay the worker for the time it takes to get vaccinated, up to 4 hours; and no employer can require that a worker only get vaccinated during non-shift hours. For more information from the City of Chicago, click here.

Many public sector workers may be entitled to paid vaccination leave.

  • Federal employees can receive paid leave to receive each dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including booster shots, and up to 2 days of paid leave to recover from related adverse reactions. Additionally, federal employees may take to up to 4 hours of paid leave to help family members receive each dose of the vaccine, including booster shots. For more information from the federal government, click here.

If you have a question or want more information about COVID-19 sick leave or your workplace rights, call A Better Balance’s free legal helpline at 1-833-NEED-ABB.

Please note that this fact sheet does not represent an exhaustive overview of the vaccine leave and sick leave laws described, and it does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that additional provisions, laws, or protections not described in this fact sheet may apply to a worker’s specific circumstances or category of employment.

Download a PDF of this resource here. 

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