City of New York to mandate vaccinations for all its employees

On Thursday, New York City’s mayor signed a bill that will require employers to vaccinate their workers. While most city employers have time to comply — the City Council gives companies six months to comply — the employer can get a 30-day extension for companies with over 50 employees.

Employers could opt out of the vaccine requirement altogether, but many will not. Several companies in the city have already made this decision.

The law prohibits employers from refusing to cover the cost of vaccinations for children under age 18. Employees who miss two of four mandatory vaccinations — seasonal and chickenpox vaccines for example — could be out sick for up to five days. But, according to city officials, more than 1,200 firefighters took sick days in September alone when the city failed to implement a mandated vaccination requirement for firefighters. These days could cost the city $145,000.

Under the proposed New York City law, businesses without written policies regarding vaccinations for their workers will have to get them in writing and then update them every time new vaccines are introduced.

For those already covered by a company’s occupational health coverage, the cost of vaccines will no longer count toward that covered portion of a worker’s salary.

The new law is not without its critics. One trade group for businesses of all sizes called it a “huge unfunded mandate” that is “another burden on small businesses.” New York State Senator Jim Gennaro, a sponsor of the bill, called the claim a “red herring” because “every employer is going to be following the law.”

What do you think? Should businesses be required to offer vaccination coverage?

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