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New York State HERO Act Designation Expires

On March 17, 2022, the designation of COVID-19 as an airborne infectious disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under the HERO Act ended.  The New York State Department of Labor (“NYSDOL”) declined to extend this designation.  The most immediate effect of this designation ending is that the activation of workplace exposure prevention plans mandated under the HERO Act, which we covered here and here, is over.

While employers are no longer required to activate their workplace exposure prevention plans, which means that health screenings and physical distancing—to name two examples—are no longer required under the HERO Act, employers are still required to maintain a HERO Act workplace exposure plan, disseminate it to employees, and post it in a conspicuous location at their worksites.

Employers should note that other HERO Act provisions persist on a permanent basis, including the requirement that employers with 10 or more employees allow employees at a worksite to establish a joint labor management workplace safety committee, which we reported on here.  In addition, most New York City employers are reminded that they still are subject to the private employer vaccination mandate, which we previously reported on here and here.

We will continue to monitor legal developments surrounding the HERO Act.  As always, Mintz’s Employment, Labor & Benefits team is available to assist employers with any HERO Act or COVID-related questions or concerns.

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Evan M. Piercey is an Associate at Mintz who litigates employment disputes before state and federal courts and administrative agencies. He also advises clients on a range of issues, including employment agreements and compliance with employment laws.