New York Public Employers Must Develop Plans to Protect Public Workers in Future Health Emergencies
We continue to see the impact that COVID-19 has had and will continue to have on the workplace. On Labor Day 2020, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation requiring all public employers in New York state to create plans to adequately protect workers in the event of another state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease. This includes state, county and local governments, public authorities, commissions, public corporations, agencies and school districts.
It is now 2021, and Rose & Kiernan, Inc. would like to remind employers that plans are to be submitted to unions and labor management committees by February 4, 2021, and all plans must be finalized by April 1, 2021.
Per Emergency Preparedness Solutions™®, “plans must include the following:
- A list and description of positions and titles considered essential
- Protocols which will enable non-essential employees to work remotely
- A description of how work shifts may be staggered to reduce overcrowding
- Protocols for procuring, storing, and distributing PPE
- Protocols to prevent the spread of disease if an employee is exposed, symptomatic, or tests positive
- Protocols for documenting hours and work locations of all employees for contact tracing
- Protocols for coordinating with applicable government entities for temporary emergency employee housing”
They provide a free, downloadable NYS Public Employer Health Emergency Planning Template for use. However, it’s also important for employers to take action and develop the various protocols within the plan to meet the requirements of this law.
Also, note that employers are required to publish a copy of plan’s final version in a clear and visible location, in the employee handbook (if one is provided), and in a location accessible to employees online by no later than April 1, 2021.
While these requirements are only for public employers in New York state, private employers should be proactive and consider putting plans in place to protect employees in the event of future disasters involving communicable diseases. If you need help, contact the Risk Management Team at Rose & Kiernan, Inc. here or by calling (800) 242-4433.