On December 15, 2021, New York City released guidance on the private employer vaccine mandate set to take effect on Monday, December 27. The mandate will require workers in New York City who perform in-person work or interact with the public to show proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by December 27. Partially vaccinated workers who fail to provide proof of their second dose within 45 days of providing proof of their first dose are to be excluded from the workplace until they provide proof of a second dose or submit a request for accommodation.
The vaccine mandate applies to all individuals who work in-person in New York City at a “workplace,” which is defined broadly as “any location, including a vehicle, where work is performed in the presence of another worker or member of the public.” It applies not only to full-time employees, but also to part-time workers, interns, volunteers, and contractors. The mandate includes exemptions for:
- Individuals who work from home and whose employment does not involve interacting in-person with co-workers or members of the public;
- Individuals who enter the workplace for a quick and limited purpose;
- Non-New York City residents who are performing artists, athletes, or individuals accompanying such performing artists or athletes who do not have to display proof of vaccination pursuant to the Key to NYC program; and
- Individuals who have been granted a reasonable accommodation (as discussed further below).
Private Residences Not Exempt
By the lack of inclusion in the list of exemptions, it would appear that the definition of a workplace expands to include private residences who employ household staff. It’s unclear how enforcement would play out with limited access by any official observer to a private household setting. The rules may change within the week, as Mayor-elect Eric Adams has said he plans to re-evaluate the mandate when he takes office on January 1st.
Proof of Vaccination and Certifying Compliance
As an Estate Manager, it’s best to err on the side of caution to protect both your staff and your employer. The guidelines for compliance require that employers verify each worker’s vaccination status by doing one of the following:
- Maintaining a copy of each worker’s proof of vaccination or reasonable accommodation documentation;
- Maintaining a paper or electronic record that includes: (1) the worker’s name; (2) whether the worker is fully vaccinated; (3) for workers who submit proof of partial vaccination, the date by which proof of the second dose must be provided; and (4) for workers who do not submit proof of vaccination because of a reasonable accommodation, that such accommodation was provided; or
- Checking proof of vaccination daily before allowing a worker to enter the workplace and maintaining a record of the verification.
We’ll keep an eye on this issue and welcome updates from Members.