New York Hero Act Requires NY Employers to Adopt Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Plan by August 5

As we have previously discussed, private employers in New York, including nonprofit organizations, will be required to adopt an airborne infectious disease prevention planย in accordance with the NY HERO Act (the Act) by August 5, 2021.

New York State has issued a model plan for general businesses and 11 industry-specific plans (found here)ย that an employer may use in order to comply with the Act. Employers may choose to implement the applicable plan for their industry or they can choose to create their own plan so long as it meets or exceeds the Actโ€™s minimum requirements. For many employers, the requirements under the model plans will be familiar after dealing with COVID-19 workplace requirements, for example, face coverings, social distancing, disinfecting procedures, health screenings, etc.

Employers are required to provide employees with notice of the Act by September 4, 2021. Employers are also required to notify new hires of the Act and provide notice of the Act within 15 days of a re-opening due to an airborne infectious disease related closure.

It is important to note that an employer only needs to put their plan into effect when the New York State Commissioner of Health designates an airborne infectious disease as a highly contagious communicable disease threat that presents a serious risk of harm to the public. At this time, there is no such designation in place for COVID-19 or any other infectious disease.

As we previously reported, the Act includes anti-retaliation provisions as well as a requirement that employers allow employees to form safety committees.

What Should Employers Do Now?

  • Before August 5, employers should determine which model plan applies to their business and either, adopt the applicable NY State model plan or create their own plan that meets the Actโ€™s requirements; โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹โ€‹
  • By September 4, distribute the plan to employees;
  • Be prepared to implement the plan should the NYS Commissioner of Health declare that an infectious disease is a serious risk to the public (this includes training staff, having appropriate supplies, etc.);
  • Be prepared to address the creation of an employee safety committee.

If you have any questions, please reach out to the White Plains office of Pro Bono Partnership at 914-328-0674.

This document is provided as a general informational service to volunteers, clients, and friends of Pro Bono Partnership. It should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does distribution of this document create an attorney-client relationship.