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New York State HERO Act Plans in Effect

September 13, 2021

As previously reported, under the New York State Health and Essential Rights Act (HERO Act) (which was signed into law on May 5, 2021), the New York State Department of Labor (DOL), in cooperation with the New York State Department of Health, published The Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Standard (Standard) on July 6, 2021.[1]

The Standard requires most private employers, regardless of size, with worksites located in New York State,[2] to establish a written exposure prevention plan (Plan) designed to eliminate or minimize employee exposure to airborne infectious agents in the event of an outbreak of airborne infections disease.

Employers may choose to adopt the applicable model policy provided by the DOL or establish an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the standard’s minimum requirements.

While employers were required to adopt a Plan by August 5, 2021, and distribute such plans to all employees by September 4, 2021, such plans were not required to be in effect until the designation of an airborne infectious agent or disease.

Employer Action Required

On September 6, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease under the HERO Act.

In response, covered employers must:

  • Immediately review their Plan to ensure that it incorporates current information, guidance, and mandatory requirements issued by federal, state, and local governments related to COVID;
  • Finalize and promptly active the Plan;
  • Provide a verbal review of the Plan with their employees;
  • Provide each employee with a copy of the Plan in English or in the language identified as the primary language of such employees, if available; and
  • Post the Plan at the worksite (accessible to employees during all work shifts).


[1] The Standard has also been published in Spanish.

[2]  The HERO Act does not cover telework or any work site that the employer does not have the ability to control.

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