Important update: as of 9/8 New York initiated the HERO Act – read the full update here.
As explained in previous Harris Beach publications (which are available here and here) the New York Health Essential Rights Act (“HERO Act”) requires all private employers to, among other things, develop infectious disease exposure prevention plans. The HERO Act, signed into law in May, directed the New York State Department of Labor (“DOL”) to develop minimum standards and model plans for various types of work sites.
On July 6, 2021, the DOL issued the minimum standards and model plans to facilitate compliance with the HERO Act. The guidelines and model plans are available on the DOL’s website for HERO Act information.
The HERO Act gives employers 30 days from the date the DOL publishes model plans to either: (1) adopt the model plan; or (2) adopt a plan that equals or exceeds the standards set forth in the model plan. In addition, no more than 60 days after adopting a plan, employers must post a copy of the written plan in the workplace and make copies available to all employees.
Now that the DOL has published the minimum standards and model plans, employers have 30 days to adopt a compliant plan. In other words, employers had until August 5, 2021 to adopt a plan.
The DOL has published several industry-specific templates – including one published specifically for the construction industry – which you can consult when developing your own plan. Importantly, however, the plans only need to be activated when an airborne infectious disease has been designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health. To date, no such designation has been made by the Commissioner.
For now, employers should develop and adopt a compliant prevention plan, but those plans do not need to be active unless and until a disease is designated by the Commissioner. In addition, employers should be mindful of the second part of the HERO Act, which takes effect on November 1, 2021. This part requires employers with at least 10 employees to permit establishment of workplace safety committees, and the DOL is expected to publish additional guidance prior to the effective date.
For support navigating the HERO Act, or general labor and employment legal needs – contact Daniel Moore at 585-419-8626 or email@example.com or Daniel Palermo at 585-419-8946 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.
Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Long Island, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.
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