3.17.22 Advocacy Alert: Hochul Extends State of Emergency, Signs Sexual Harassment Bills
March 17, 2022
State of Emergency Extended
Governor Kathy Hochul has issued an Executive Order extending New York’s state of emergency declaration for COVID-19. The state of emergency was scheduled to expire today, but Hochul extended the declaration through April 15.
Declaring a state of emergency triggers the NY HERO Act, meaning employers must continue to abide by a number of disease prevention measures.
To understand what the HERO Act means for your workplace, use the BNP’s resources here. The HERO Act used to require employee masking, but this regulation was removed last month.
The extension comes as New York has its lowest number of positive COVID cases since July.
3/21 Update: The state reversed course and said employers no longer need to implement their workforce safety plans. Learn more here.
Hochul Signs Sexual Harassment Prevention Legislation
Yesterday, Governor Hochul signed into law a package of legislation to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.
One bill will create a confidential hotline within the state’s Division of Human Rights for the purpose of reporting workplace sexual harassment. DHR will connect callers to pro-bono attorneys, who can apprise callers of their rights and give legal advice.
Another bill clarifies that leaking an employee’s personnel records because he or she has made a complaint about workplace harassment constitutes unlawful retaliation. The bill is a jab at former Governor Cuomo, whose administration leaked unflattering personnel records of Lindsay Boylan after she accused Cuomo of sexual harassment.
The signing of this legislative package serves as a reminder to employers of their responsibilities to combat workplace sexual harassment. All employers are required to provide anti-harassment training and adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy. Resources for preventing sexual harassment are available here.
Comptroller: “Duplication” in State Workforce Efforts
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli recently released a report assessing the state Department of Labor’s workforce development efforts. The report found significant overlap, duplication, gaps, and fragmentation in state workforce development programs and services. The audit found that New York offers over 500 workforce development programs and services, administered
3.21.22 COVID Bulletin: State Reverses Course on HERO Act
Without fanfare, the New York State Department of Labor updated its website to announce the relaxation of some NY HERO Act provisions. Employers can now forego enforcing their workplace safety plans.
Empire Center: Single Payer “Sticker Shock”
A new report from the Empire Center for Public Policy details how expensive a single payer healthcare system would be in New York. The full report is available here.
Workforce Policy Update March 2022
The BNP works closely with government leaders to keep them informed of employer challenges and to advocate for policy that would ease the workforce crisis. The BNP supports legislation that expands access to education and training, makes quality childcare more accessible, removes barriers to workforce participation, and reforms our immigration system to meet our region’s workforce needs.