On Could 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into legislation the New York Well being and Important Rights Act (“HERO Act” or the “Act”). The HERO Act would require employers to implement security requirements to stop occupational publicity to an airborne infectious illness. The HERO Act goals to cut back office transmission and neighborhood unfold by enforceable well being and security requirements. Sure provisions of the Act will go into impact on June 4, 2021.
Who is roofed?
The HERO Act covers all private-sector employers in New York State. “Workers” coated by the HERO Act embrace any particular person offering labor or companies for remuneration together with, however not restricted to, part-time staff, impartial contractors, home staff, residence care and private care staff, day laborers, farmworkers, and different non permanent and seasonable staff.
Minimal Security Requirements
The HERO Act requires the New York State Division of Labor (the “NYSDOL”) and New York State Division of Well being (the “NYSDOH”) to create industry-specific well being and security requirements. These security requirements will set the minimal necessities that each one workplaces should observe to restrict the chance of infectious illness within the office and embrace:
Worker well being screenings;
Required PPE that have to be maintained in a sanitary and dependable situation on the employer’s expense;
Accessible office hand hygiene stations and sustaining wholesome hand hygiene;
Common cleansing and disinfecting of shared gear and regularly touched surfaces;
Efficient social distancing for workers, shoppers, and clients;
Compliance with obligatory or precautionary orders of isolation or quarantine that has been issued to staff;
Compliance with relevant engineering controls akin to correct airflow, exhaust air flow, or different particular design necessities; and
Compliance with any relevant legal guidelines, guidelines, rules, requirements, or steerage on notification to staff and related state and native businesses of potential publicity to airborne infectious illness on the worksite.
The HERO Act requires the NYSDOL and NYSDOH to create a mannequin airborne infectious illness publicity prevention plan (“Prevention Plan”). Employers are required both to undertake the mannequin Prevention Plan or implement their very own written prevention plan that meets or exceeds the requirements set forth within the state mannequin. The Prevention Plan should meet a number of notification necessities.
If a unionized employer desires to undertake its personal plan, it should achieve this together with an settlement with the union.1 A non-unionized employer searching for to undertake another plan should achieve this with the involvement of its staff.
Office Security Committees
Efficient November 1, 2021, employers with at the least 10 staff, shall allow their staff to determine and administer a joint labor-management office security committee. Every security committee shall be approved to carry out duties, together with however not restricted to:
Elevate well being and security considerations, hazards, complaints, and violations to which the employer should reply;
Overview any coverage that’s applied pursuant to the Act and supply suggestions; and
Overview the adoption of any office coverage regarding any well being or security legislation, ordinance, rule, regulation, government order, or different associated directives.
Anti-Discrimination and Anti-Retaliation Provisions
The HERO Act prohibits discrimination and retaliation of staff who:
Report violations of the Act or an employer’s Prevention Plan to any state, native, or federal authorities entity, public officer or elected official;
Report airborne infectious illness publicity considerations; and/or
Refuse to work if the worker moderately believes, in good religion, that such work exposes the worker or different staff to an unreasonable danger of publicity to an airborne infectious illness.
Penalties for Noncompliance
Employers will face penalties for non-compliance with the above-mentioned necessities. Employers shall be fined $50 per day for failure to implement a compliant Prevention Plan or between $1,000 and $10,000 for failure to abide by an adopted Prevention Plan. Whether it is decided by New York State that an employer violated the Act within the previous six (6) years, employers shall be fined $200 per day for failure to implement a compliant Prevention Plan or between $1,000 and $20,000 for failure to abide by an adopted Prevention Plan.
Potential Further Provisions
Governor Cuomo has indicated that future amendments to the Act might embrace: (i) extra particular directions and timelines for the NYSDOL and employers to enact these security requirements; (ii) offering a chance for employers to right away treatment violations; and (iii) limiting litigation to conditions the place employers are performing in unhealthy religion and failing to treatment deficiencies.
1 Each the Prevention Plan and office security committee necessities of the Act could be waived by an settlement with a union that expressly references the relevant part of the legislation.