NEW YORK — With all the holiday festivities and long lines at COVID testing and vaccination sites, it may be pretty easy to say there just isn’t enough time to get your child vaccinated, but now New York City officials are trying to make it easier for working parents by giving them paid family leave to get those much needed shots.
Starting Friday, the New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection is amending a law that will make it easier for parents to take their children ages 5 to 17 to get vaccinated. It’s an expansion of the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law to include an extra four hours of paid leave per child under the age of 18 per vaccine injection.
“Great idea,” Elsie Ryley, waiting on a long line to get vaccinated, told PIX11 News. “I think every parent will be very happy to take their kids to get vaccinated and know that they still have a job.”
The time can be used to take their child to get vaccinated or to take care of their child if they experience any side effects.
It is retroactive to Nov. 2, the day the CDC approved vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old.
“We’ve all seen how important sick leave is in keeping New York City healthy during the pandemic,” Peter Hatch, the commissioner for the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, told PIX11 News.
City officials wanted to make sure that during the current COVID surge, while children are on a break from school, they get that much needed shot in the arm without their parents worried about their own jobs.
“This is in addition to paid sick leave employees already have so they don’t have to worry about low leave at the end of the year,” commissioner Hatch told PIX11 News. “We don’t want them to hesitate to take their children to get vaccinated.”
The latest numbers from the NYC Health Department show the under 18 set is getting vaccinated. More than 435,000 children, or 83% of children ages 12 to 17, have been vaccinated.
For those younger, ages 5 to 11, the number is more like 189,000 children or 28%.
And this amendment will make it easier for that percentage to grow.
“A lot of my friends have small children at home, so even that small gesture would be fantastic,” Aurelie Muntzel, waiting on a long line to get herself vaccinated, told PIX11 News.
If you need more information on if you are eligible for this paid family leave, you can go to the city website at nyc.gov/workers or call 311 and say sick leave.