On May 5, 2021, former Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO ACT) into law. This law was enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, in order to protect employees against future exposure of various airborne infectious disease outbreaks. Under the HERO ACT, employers are required to adopt extensive workplace health and safety protection plans and present these plans to employees.
HERO ACT Now in Effect
Employers were only required to have these safety plans ready and presented, but on Monday, September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a directive to require those plans to go into effect. Pursuant to this directive, all employers must now implement their workplace safety plans in accordance with the HERO ACT. The Act ensures that there are protections in place to promote health and safety in the workplace and aid in helping employees feel safe to return to work. Workplace plans must address certain safety measures, such as employee health screenings, masking and social distancing requirements, workplace hygiene stations, workplace cleaning protocol, quarantine protocol, and building airflow technology.
In addition to workplace safety protocols, the HERO Act includes anti-retaliation protections for employees that prohibit discrimination or adverse actions taken against an employee for following the requirements of these plans, reporting concerns on the implementation of a plan, or refusing to work. Employers are required to present their work safety plan to all employees and make sure that it is posted in a visible and prominent location within each worksite.
If you do not currently have a workplace safety plan or you need assistance implementing your plan, please reach out to us.