This post was written by Emily Martin, Owner of Ally HR Partners LLC
In an unexpected announcement that certainly has caused some confusion – not only were employers required to “implement” their HERO Act plans effective Monday September 6, but effective September 7, just one day after the deadline, the plan is being required to be activated, with COVID now being officially designated an airborne infectious disease by NYS.
This new development not only means that the plan needs to be completed and rolled out to all staff at this point (through postings, verbal meetings, and integration into new hire and handbook documents), but also needs to be “activated” meaning the measures employers are required to take per the plan need to be put into place. For most, this will mean going back to previous COVID rules and requirements including requiring all staff to wear masks, social distancing, enhanced cleaning measures, and the daily health screenings.
For our previous piece on what the HERO Act requires, see this article. If you are an employer who has not yet adopted or implemented a plan, here is a quick list of actions you should take ASAP to ensure that you are becoming as compliant as possible, as quickly as possible, to avoid fines or issues as this begins to be enforced by NYS.
- Adopt a HERO Act plan now. NYS has several model plans by industry available on their site, and completing a plan merely means checking some boxes of what you plan to do in order to prevent the spread of, or respond to COVID presence in your workplace.
- Do what you can to comply with the implementation provisions as quickly as possible. Even if you can’t get your staff together today to meet the verbal rollout requirement, at least take measures to do what you can here, including emailing or announcing to all staff through other channels, posting the plan in break rooms or online portals, and integrating into your new hire paperwork. You should communicate masking and other protocol requirements to staff as soon as possible after yesterday’s announcement, and start making sure this is enforced today. This includes letting employees know who concerns should be directed to.
- Rollout verbally as soon as you can. We can help you with a plan, which perhaps also includes checking off the required sexual harassment training, or another important announcement or training at the same time. The Governor has indicated a plan to actively enforced compliance with the HERO act requirement, so employers should not skip this step.
Need help? Contact us today and we would be happy to walk you through this steps as quickly as possible.
This post was written by Emily Martin, Owner of Ally HR Partners LLC, a Buffalo-based HR consulting firm that helps small businesses identify and implement custom solutions to their people problems and opportunities. Often a business’ #1 expense, Ally HR Partners believes your people should be your #1 asset. Through an integrative partnership approach, Ally becomes your internal expert on all things HR including compliance assurance, performance management, and strategic HR initiatives designed to make the most out of your Human Capital. For more information about how Ally can work for you, visit AllyHRPartners.com