NY HERO Act: All Employers Required to Adopt Plan by August 5, 2021

July 28, 2021 By Abbye Schmitz

Earlier this year, New York lawmakers passed a comprehensive revamp of the State’s workplace health and safety laws, known as the HERO Act. The law is intended to “to protect employees against exposure and disease during a future airborne infectious disease outbreak.”


New York employers – regardless of size, industry, or location – will have until August 5, 2021 to establish an Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Plan. This requirement can be satisfied by adopting the NYSDOL’s model standards, or by adopting an alternative plan that meets or exceeds the NYSDOL’s standards. The state has also released industry specific models for adoption. These standards govern a wide variety of topics, including:
  • health screening
  • stay at home policy
  • face coverings and PPE
  • quarantines
  • hand hygiene
  • cleaning and disinfecting
  • social and physical distancing
  • ventilation
In addition to written distribution, the Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure plan must also be:
  1. posted in a visible and prominent location in the workplace
  2. included in the business’s employee handbook/manual
  3. made available upon request by any employee, independent contractor, or employee or collective bargaining representative


The plan must be provided to existing workers within 30 days after the employer’s establishment of it (but, no later than 60 days after the NYSDOL’s publication of the model standards, which were published on July 5, 2021), and, thereafter, to new hires upon joining. Additionally, if there is ever a future period of closure due to an airborne infectious disease, the plan must again be provided to all workers within 15 days after reopening following the closure.

Included in the HERO Act, NYS employers with at least 10 employees are required to permit their employees to establish and administer a joint labor-management workplace safety committee comprised of employee and employer representatives (two thirds of whose members must be nonsupervisory employees). The statute indicates this will go into effect on November 1, 2021.
For more details, please check out our YouTube video on the NY HERO Act.