NY HERO Act August 5 Deadline – Employers must adopt Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plans
Tomorrow, August 5 is the deadline for New York employers to adopt plans to comply with the New York’s Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act). Signed into law on May 5, 2021, the NY HERO Act requires private employers with worksites located in New York State to adopt Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plans designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure in the event of an airborne disease outbreak. The NY Department of Labor (DOL) has posted a model plan, along with additional industry-specific models, on its website, which employers can fill out and adopt. Employers may instead develop their own infectious disease exposure prevention plan that meets or exceeds the Airborne Infectious Disease Prevention Standard, but if they develop their own plan, they must do so in consultation with employees or, if applicable, pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement.
Within 30 days of adoption of the plan (no later than September 4, 2021), employers must provide the plan to their employees, post the same in a visible and prominent location within each worksite, and include it in their handbooks.
While employers must adopt a plan now, the plan must go into effect only when an airborne infectious disease is designated by the New York State Commissioner of Health as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health. Currently, while employers must adopt plans as required by the law, as of the date of this writing no designation has been made and plans are not required to be in effect.