NYS COVID-19 Update
New York Governor Kathy Hochul recently relinquished her executive powers for COVID-19, and President Biden recently stated in a 60-Minutes interview that the pandemic is “over.” Although these actions further signify a shift to “living” with the virus rather than “beating” it, employers should continue to closely monitor the health and safety of their workforce and be advised that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ declaration of COVID-19 as a Public Health Emergency remains in effect through October 13, 2022. This declaration is likely to be extended.
Governor Hochul also recently announced that masks are now encouraged but optional on New York City and regional public transportation. In addition, NYC’s private sector workplace vaccine requirement will also be optional beginning on November 1, 2022.
The New York State Health Department now mirrors the CDC’s guidance for COVID-19, which no longer recommends quarantine for potential exposure to the virus, but still advises masks to be worn for 10 full days after exposure. The CDC guidance continues to recommend a 5-day isolation for individuals who have a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19.
New York State COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave is a law that remains in effect with no expiration date. For a change to be made to this law, it would need to be amended or repealed.
New York employers must continue to provide COVID-19 paid sick leave to employees who cannot effectively work from home and need to isolate due to their own suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.
When an isolation order cannot be obtained from a government entity, employers must accept the affirmation of isolation form provided by the state.
According to state guidance, employees may be eligible for three separate instances of COVID-19 paid sick leave when the second and third instance are based on a positive test.
Employees cannot be required to use their “classic” NYS Paid Sick Leave and/or Company-provided PTO until they have exhausted NYS COVID-19 Paid Sick Leave.
In addition to specific requirements that remain in effect, such as, New York State COVID-19 paid sick leave, medical plan sponsor requirements to cover COVID-19 vaccines and testing, and extended periods for electing COBRA coverage and paying premiums, employers maintain an overall obligation to protect the health and safety of their workforce under OSHA’s General Duty Clause.
Source: HR Works Blog 9/23/22