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This entry was published on 2021-02-19
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Preparation of public employers for state disaster emergencies involving public health
§ 27-c. Preparation of public employers for state disaster emergencies
involving public health. 1. Definitions. For the purposes of this

a. "Personal protective equipment" shall mean all equipment worn to
minimize exposure to hazards, including gloves, masks, face shields,
foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices, respirators, hard
hats, and disposable gowns and aprons.

b. "Public employer" or "employer" shall mean the state of New York, a
county, city, town, village or any other political subdivision or civil
division of the state, a public authority, commission or public benefit
corporation, or any other public corporation, agency, instrumentality or
unit of government which exercises governmental power under the laws of
this state, provided, however, that this subdivision shall not include
any employer as defined in section twenty-eight hundred one-a of the
education law.

c. "Essential" shall refer to a designation made that a public
employee is required to be physically present at a work site to perform
his or her job. Such designation may be changed at any time in the sole
discretion of the employer.

d. "Non-essential" shall refer to a designation made that a public
employee is not required to be physically present at a work site to
perform his or her job. Such designation may be changed at any time in
the sole discretion of the employer.

e. "Communicable disease" shall mean an illness caused by an
infectious agent or its toxins that occurs through the direct or
indirect transmission of the infectious agent or its products from an
infected individual.

f. "Retaliatory action" shall mean the discharge, suspension,
demotion, or discrimination against any employee, or other adverse
employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions
of employment.

2. Each public employer in the state of New York shall prepare a plan
for the continuation of operations in the event that the governor
declares a state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease.
Such plans shall follow the provisions for review and publication as
prescribed in subdivision four of this section.

3. The operations plan required by this section shall include, but not
be limited to:

a. A list and description of the types of positions considered
essential in the event of a state-ordered reduction of in-person

b. A description of protocols the employer will follow for
non-essential employees to telecommute including, but not limited to,
facilitating or requesting the procurement, distribution, downloading
and installation of any needed technology, including software, data, and
the transferring of office phone lines to work or personal cell phones
as practicable or applicable to the workplace, and may include devices.

c. A description of how the employer will, to the extent possible,
stagger work shifts of essential employees in order to reduce
overcrowding on public transportation systems and at worksites.

d. A description of the protocol the employer will implement in order
to procure the appropriate personal protective equipment for essential
employees, based upon the various tasks and needs of such employees in a
quantity sufficient to provide personal protective equipment to each
essential employee during any given work shift. Such description shall
also include a plan for storage of such equipment to prevent degradation
and permit immediate access in the event of an emergency declaration.

e. A description of the protocol in the event an employee is exposed
to a known case of the communicable disease that is the subject of the
state disaster emergency, exhibits symptoms of such disease, or tests
positive for such disease in order to prevent the spread or contraction
of such disease in the workplace. Such protocol shall also detail
actions to be taken to immediately and thoroughly disinfect the work
area of any employee known or suspected to be infected with the
communicable disease as well as any common area surface and shared
equipment such employee may have touched, and the employer policy on
available leave in the event of the need of an employee to receive
testing, treatment, isolation, or quarantine. Such protocol shall not
involve any action that would violate any existing federal, state, or
local law, including regarding sick leave or health information privacy.

f. A protocol for documenting hours and work locations, including
off-site visits, for essential employees. Such protocol shall be
designed only to aid in tracking of the disease and to identify the
population of exposed employees in order to facilitate the provision of
any benefits which may be available to certain employees on that basis.

g. A protocol for how the public employer will work with such
employer's locality to identify sites for emergency housing for
essential employees in order to further contain the spread of the
communicable disease that is the subject of the declared emergency, to
the extent applicable to the needs of the workplace.

h. Any other requirements determined by the department of health such
as contract tracing or testing, social distancing, hand hygiene and
disinfectant, or mask wearing.

4. Once drafted, each public employer shall present the plan described
in this section to all applicable duly recognized or certified
representatives of the employer's employees, who shall then be granted
an opportunity to review the plan and make recommendations, if any,
provided that nothing shall preclude such representatives from making
such recommendations prior to the draft being completed. The employer
must consider and respond to such recommendations in writing within a
reasonable timeframe. A copy of the final version of such plan shall
then be published in a clear and conspicuous location, and in the
employee handbook, to the extent that the employer provides such
handbook to its employees, and in a location accessible on either the
employer's website or on the internet accessible by employees. No
employer shall take retaliatory action or otherwise discriminate against
any employee for making recommendations regarding the content of the

5. The department shall establish procedures to allow for public
employees to contact and inform the department of any alleged violations
of any of the provisions described in this section.

6. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to impede, infringe,
diminish or impair the rights of a public employee or employer under any
law, rule, regulation or collectively negotiated agreement, or the
rights and benefits which accrue to employees through collective
bargaining agreements, or otherwise diminish the integrity of the
existing collective bargaining relationship.