Gov. Hochul Triggers New York HERO Act and Signs Legislation on Labor Day
Knowledge

Gov. Hochul Triggers New York HERO Act and Signs Legislation on Labor Day

Key Takeaways

  • Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the commissioner of health designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act

  • Employers must “activate” their airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plans

  • Due to newly enacted wage-and-hour legislation signed by the governor, construction companies will be liable for wages owed to employees of their subcontractor

 

On September 6, 2021, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the commissioner of health designated COVID-19 as a highly contagious communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to the public health under New York State’s HERO Act.

We previously reported on developments relating to the HERO Act here. The mandatory airborne infectious disease exposure prevention plan (IDEPP), which all employers in New York should have adopted in August 2021, did not have much time to collect dust on the shelf.

Employers should consider taking the following steps if they have not done so already:

  1. Adopt an IDEPP. Model plans are found here.
  2. Provide the IDEPP to employees in writing.
  3. Conduct a “verbal review” of the IDEPP with employees.
  4. Post the IDEPP in each “worksite.”
  5. Add the IDEPP to the company’s employee handbook, if one exists.
  6. Modify the company’s onboarding process to account for new employee receiving the IDEPP.
  7. Obtain a written acknowledgement from employees indicating they have received the IDEPP and participated in the verbal review.
  8. Train managers on the IDEPP and on what to do if an employee alleges a violation of the IDEPP.

Notably, employers have 30 days to “cure” any alleged violation of the IDEPP that an employee complains about. Employers are well advised to take any and all employee complaints seriously, and document and maintain any corrective action taken to cure any alleged deficiencies.

NEW YORK LABOR LAW AMENDMENT: WAGE PAYMENTS FOR SUBCONTRACTORS

The governor also signed a number of bills on Monday, including A.3350-A/S.2766-C. This bill makes contractors on construction projects jointly liable for wages owed to employees of their subcontractors. Construction contractors are not currently liable for wages of their subcontractors’ employees unless there is an employment relationship between the contractor and the employee of the subcontractor. This bill applies prospectively to contracts entered 120 days after the bill becomes law. It also allows contractors to demand payroll information from subcontractors and withhold payment if the information is not provided.

These changes are reflected in a new section 198-e to the New York Labor Law and an amendment to section 756-a of the New York General Business Law.

Employers in the construction industry are advised to review this new law with counsel prior to negotiating future contracts.

For more information or immediate guidance, contact: