In May, Governor Cuomo signed into law the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act”). At the time of passage, Governor Cuomo also indicated an intention to amend the law. Those amendments have now been enacted. Among other things, the amendments clarify the timeline by which the New York Department of Labor and New York employers must act.
By July 5, 2021, the NYDOL must publish model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention standards. Employers will then have 30 days after the NYDOL provides these model standards to establish their own prevention plan, either by adoping the applicable model standards or establishing an alternative plan that equals or exceeds the model’s minimum standards. Employers then have another 30 days to provide the plan to their employees. Employers must also distribute the plan to all newly hired employees upon hire and within 15 days after reopening after a period of closure due to an airborne infectious disease.
The amendments are generally employer-friendly, including providing employers with protections against frivolous litigation and requiring employees, in most circumstances, to provide their employer with advance notice before pursuing any legal claim. The text of the HERO Act with the amendments can be found here.