Since December 27, 2021, New York City has required all private employers within the five boroughs to collect proof of vaccination from their employees. With just a handful of exceptions (such as remote workers, or those requiring medical or religious accommodations), unvaccinated employees have been prohibited from in-person work within the five boroughs. The vaccine mandate required employers to convince their employees to get vaccinated. For those employees who refused to be vaccinated and did not otherwise qualify for an exception, employers were often compelled to lay off employees.
The Mayor’s September 20 announcement also included a strong encouragement for employers to implement their own policies that encourage or mandate COVID-19 vaccination, even in the absence of a government mandate, confirming that employers may still choose to require vaccination as a condition of in-person and remote employment, subject to exemptions for employees requiring medical or religious accommodations.
Private employers in New York City should plan to revise their vaccination policies to remove references to the City’s mandate. Employers should also consider updating other health and safety policies in light of the approaching cold and flu season to provide additional protections in the event of another COVID-19 surge.