September 23, 2022
New York Mayor Eric Adams has officially announced that New York City will be rescinding its mandate to vaccinate private employers, effective November 1, 2022.
On December 27, 2021, former Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a first-of-its-kind requirement that all private sector employers require all in-person private workers in New York to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have housing. approved.
However, Mayor Adams officially announcement on September 20, 2022, that New York City will rescind this mandate to vaccinate private employers, from November 1, 2022, allowing companies to remove vaccination requirements for NYC workers. This is an important development because New York City was the only remaining jurisdiction in the country that required all private employers to confirm the vaccination status of their workers.
Mayor Adams also announced that New York public school students participating in extracurricular activities will no longer be required to be vaccinated. Notably, New York State will still require various healthcare workers to be vaccinated.
The removal of the private employer vaccination mandate in New York means that, to the extent that employers required unvaccinated employees to work remotely based on this mandate, they can schedule those employees to return to work by person as usual on November 1, without having approved accommodation or following stricter precautions in the workplace.
Companies that choose to keep a vaccination mandate in place or require testing and masking for unvaccinated employees can continue to do so, but given the many recent changes to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ) (which are detailed in a recent Morgan Lewis LawFlash), employers should also consider evaluating their testing and other COVID-19 protocols to ensure they continue to meet business needs and they are supported by relevant CDC or local health department guidelines.
As a reminder, even though private employers’ vaccination mandate has officially ended, companies are still required to maintain a NY HERO Act Airborne Infectious Disease Safety Plan, which must be (1) posted at all company locations. New York State, (2) attached to an employer handbook if the employer has one, and (3) distributed to new employees. It should be noted that the New York State Department of Labor has offered some changes to the HERO Act standard last month. The proposed changes will remove some of the specific requirements from the plan, which should instead state that businesses will need to follow applicable guidelines in the event of a future outbreak of an infectious disease. If the proposed regulations pass, companies would need to revise their current HERO Act plans to ensure compliance.
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