NEW YORK – Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris was joined by Governor Kathy Hochul, Assembly Member Karines Reyes, and New York State AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento for a press conference on September 8 highlighting the New York Health and Essential Rights, or NY HERO, Act. Earlier this week, Governor Hochul announced that she directed the state health department to certify covid-19 a serious risk to public health which triggers the NY HERO Act regulations.
“I am thankful Governor Hochul acted quickly to save lives and protect workers by implementing our New York HERO Act,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “It took too long to effectuate and too many workers have already sacrificed their health for our community’s benefit, but we can finally recognize their efforts by giving workers the tools to protect themselves while on the job.”
At the NY HERO Act press conference, left to right: Senator Gianaris, Assembly Member Karines Reyes, Governor Hochul, and NYS AFL-CIO President Mario Cilento. Photo: Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
The NY HERO Act, passed earlier this year by the Legislature and signed into law by the former Governor, requires the Department of Health to declare a disease, like COVID-19, “a highly contagious, communicable disease that presents a serious risk of harm to public health” before the law’s protections can be implemented.
The NY HERO Act requires the Departments of Labor and Health to implement enforceable minimum standards for workplace safety. The regulations must include protocols on testing, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls. Workers would also be given a direct role in monitoring and reporting violations through workplace health and safety committees and employees would be protected from retaliation for utilizing their rights under the law.