New York City’s private employer vaccine mandate became effective Monday. December 27, 2021 and, the City has updated its FAQs document and the Accommodations Guidance document (“Guidance”).

Guidance Updates: The Guidance was amended to reflect that the New York City Human Rights Law provides for accommodations for pregnancy and for victims of domestic violence, sex offenses, or stalking in addition to medical and religious reasons. The Guidance also clarifies that the examples for medical exemptions for vaccination were those that had been found worthy by the CDC and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Further, the Guidance modifies some language on the religious accommodation checklist around the types of information needed to support religious accommodation requests. As we previously shared, the checklist the City recommends that employers maintain and complete in connection with each religious accommodation request does not alleviate an employer’s need to analyze such requests on a case-by-case basis.

FAQ Updates: The FAQs were amended to address the interaction with the OSHA ETS. NYC employers do not have the option of allowing a vaccine or testing choice for their workforce. Rather, the only unvaccinated employees who may enter a private workplace in New York City are those who have a pending request or who have been granted an exemption due to a legally qualifying reasonable accommodation. Employers may choose to accommodate by, among other things, allowing the employee to regularly test and wear a face covering.

Finally, the FAQs added six new questions and answers:

  • Employees who received a first vaccine dose (in a two-dose series) more than 45 days ago, but never received their second dose must be excluded from the workplace until they either (1) receive a second dose or (2) request a reasonable accommodation.
  • Employers do not need to verify the vaccination status of fully remote workers.
  • There are no industry-specific exceptions.
  • This vaccination mandate does not cover customers or visitors (including clients), but employers that are businesses covered by the Key to NYC requirements may be subject to rules around customers/visitors under the Key to NYC.
  • Employees cannot be granted exceptions to the vaccine requirement due to the unavailability of vaccines.
  • Employers are not required to pay employees who have been put on leave or terminated because they haven’t provided proof of vaccination or requested a reasonable accommodation request by December 27, 2021.