As the year 2022 was ending and 2023 got underway, New York Governor Hochul kept busy reviewing bills that were passed throughout the year but delivered to her for signature only after the November elections. Both houses of the New York State Legislature approved a total of 1,007 bills during the regular 2022 Legislative Session, a “modern-day record,” according to this December 20, 2022 interim report from the New York State Association of Counties. The Governor approved much of this legislation, but rejected a few measure.
On December 28, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law Senate Bill 9450, which added new enforcement provisions to the New York Health And Essential Rights Act’s (NY HERO Act) workplace safety committee requirements. The new law went into effect immediately upon the Governor’s signature.
For more than two and a half years, employers across the country have navigated a nuanced web of legal requirements and guidance to safely operate during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Recent updates to the legal landscape at the federal, state, and local level, however, have left many employers asking: is the COVID-19 pandemic finally over? For now, the answer remains “no.” This post discusses three key reasons why employers should continue to operate with the pandemic in mind.
New York employers seeking further relaxation of COVID-19 mitigation protocols after the recent lifting of a statewide mask mandate will have to wait. The designation of the virus as a “highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health” that had been extended through February 15, 2022 was extended yet again. An order by the New York State Commissioner of Health continues the designation, made pursuant to the New York HERO Act, through March 17, 2022. This means that New York employers must continue to implement their safety plans ...
On February 9, 2022, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that she would let the New York mask mandate lapse on its Thursday, February 10, 2022 expiration date. The Governor’s lifting of the statewide rule, which required businesses to either require proof of vaccination or universal masking indoors, does not yet include an end to mandatory masking in schools, despite a slew of action to that effect in neighboring states, including New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. California is also allowing statewide masking requirements for businesses and many other indoor public spaces to expire on February 15, 2022.
As we have previously explained, pursuant to Section 1 of the NY HERO Act, employers were required to prepare an airborne infectious disease exposure plan, and implement such plans when the New York State Commissioner of Health has made a designation that a highly contagious communicable disease presents a serious risk of harm to public health. Currently, such a designation is in effect until February 15, 2022. The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) prepared model plans based on their published Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (“Standard”). On August 25, 2021, the NYSDOL published a set of emergency regulations, identical to the Standard, in the New York State Register. Although they had not been formally adopted, most businesses have been following the Standard.
The New York State Acting Commissioner of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until February 15, 2022. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date, at which point the Commissioner will review whether the designation should be continued.
On December 22, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (NY DOL) issued the long-awaited proposed rule (Proposed Rule) regarding the workplace safety committees that are required by the New York HERO Act (HERO Act). While there is no current effective date for the Proposed Rule (which is first subject to a public comment period and a February 9, 2022 hearing), employers should become familiar with, and consider taking actions to timely comply with the Proposed Rule should it be adopted as currently drafted.
The HERO Act
In May of 2021, New York responded to workplace safety and health issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic by enacting the HERO Act. Since that time, the State has amended the HERO Act to allow the NY DOL additional time to create model safety standards for infectious disease exposure plans (“safety plans”) mandated by the HERO Act and to allow employers additional time for compliance.
The Commissioner of the New York Department of Health has extended the designation of COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health under the NY HERO Act until January 15, 2022, at which point the designation will be reviewed. Accordingly, the airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans required under Section 1 of the Act must be kept in place through that date.
Although the New York State Department of Labor has published guidance stating that it would provide additional guidance by November 1, 2021 on Section 2 of ...
As we previously reported, as of September 6, 2021, all New York HERO Act (“HERO Act”) airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans (“Safety Plans”) must be implemented due to COVID-19 being designated as a serious public health risk under the HERO Act. This designation was recently extended until at least October 31, 2021, per the New York Commissioner of Health’s announcement.
To help employers comply with the HERO Act’s requirements, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) has published a variety of guidance materials, such as model Safety ...
On September 23, 2021, the New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) released an update to its general model airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan (“model plan”) for employers’ use in complying with the NY HERO Act. Specifically, the model plan’s language regarding face coverings and physical distancing was modified by:
- distinguishing between workplaces where all individuals on the premises, including, but not limited to, employees, are fully vaccinated and those workplaces where not all individuals are vaccinated in terms of whether face ...
As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we focus on President Biden’s recent push to limit non-compete agreements and finalize key labor and employment appointments.
Biden Executive Order Seeks to Boost Competition
President Biden has issued an expansive executive order, which aims to boost competition across the U.S. economy, lower prices for consumers, and increase pay for workers. The order encourages federal action to ban or limit non-compete agreements, reigniting a policy debate which raged at the end of the Obama administration over when and how non-competes ...
As we previously reported, on May 5, 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Health and Essential Rights Act (the “HERO Act” or “Act”) into law, permanently codifying COVID-19-related health and safety protocols. In a memorandum issued with the signing, Governor Cuomo announced that he had secured an agreement with the Legislature for amendments to the Act to address certain ambiguities and technicalities.
On May 14, 2021, State legislators introduced bills (S6768/A7477) (“Bills” or the “Amendments”) to address some of the Governor’s concerns. The ...
- San Francisco Releases Generative AI Guidelines for City Workers
- Video: SECURE 2.0 Act - Navigating New Retirement Plan Provisions in 2024 - Employment Law This Week
- Updated for 2024: Epstein Becker Green’s Free Wage-Hour App
- Video: California’s Non-Compete Notice Deadline Approaches, California Workplace Violence Regulations, Estrada Decision Keeps Door Open for PAGA Challenges - Employment Law This Week
- Insurers in the Crosshairs: New York Targets Consumer Data and AI-Infused Insurance Underwriting and Pricing