Cuomo signs legislation requiring plans be made to protect public workers in future health emergencies

New York News

FILE – In this May 27, 2020, file photo, medical personnel work in the emergency department at NYC Health + Hospitals Metropolitan in New York. As coronavirus rages out of control in other parts of the U.S., New York is offering an example after taming the nation’s deadliest outbreak this spring — but also trying to prepare in case another surge comes. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

(WSYR-TV) — On Labor Day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation requiring all public employers to create plans to protect workers in the event of another health emergency.

The plans would apply to both the state and localities, which also includes school districts. Plans must be submitted to unions and labor management committees within 150 days.

All plans will need to be finalized on April 1, 2021.

Thanks to personal sacrifice and hard work, New Yorkers have bent the curve of coronavirus, and we all owe a debt of gratitude to the front line workers who helped carry our state through some of its darkest days. The federal government’s failure to plan for or respond to this emergency put our state in harm’s way, and we can never let that happen again. That’s why this Labor Day, we are honoring public employees’ efforts over the last six months by planning for the next emergency — and ensuring all levels of government in New York protect public workers from a future pandemic.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo

The plans must include the following:

  • List and description of positions that are considered essential
  • Descriptions of protocols to follow to allow all non-essential employees to work remotely
  • Description of how employers would stagger work shifts to help reduce overcrowding
  • Protocols for PPE
  • Protocols for when an employee is exposed to the disease
  • Protocols for documenting hours and work locations for all essential workers
  • Protocols for working with essential employees’ localities for identifying emergency house, if needed
  • Any other requirement determined by the New York State Department of Health, such as testing and contact tracing

Plans must be submitted to public unions for review. The Department of Labor will create an online portal for public employees to report violations.

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