New York State Dept. of Labor Updates: NY HERO Act Standards, Vaccine Mandates, and UI Eligibility

Date: October 05, 2021

The New York State Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced changes to the NY HERO Act and released revised airborne infectious disease prevention standards and model plans. The changes seek to clarify masking requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals. For workplaces where all onsite individuals (not just employees) are fully vaccinated, masks are recommended but not required. For workplaces where vaccination status is unknown or all individuals are not vaccinated, employees must wear appropriate face coverings per N.Y. Department of Health and U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance. Employers should ensure that their model plans are updated to reflect these changes. For more information on the NY HERO Act, visit

The Dept. of Labor also announced updated unemployment insurance eligibility guidance as it relates to unvaccinated employees. Many employers are considering requiring their employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 or fall under state or federal requirements for all employees to be vaccinated. Vaccine requirements have led to questions about unemployment insurance eligibility for the unvaccinated. In new guidance from DOL, the state clarifies that UI eligibility varies by industry. Employees in “a healthcare facility, nursing home, or school who voluntarily quit or are terminated for refusing an employer-mandated vaccination will be ineligible for UI absent a valid request.” Employees in the private sector who refuse to get vaccinated “may be eligible for UI if that person’s work has no public exposure and the worker has a compelling reason for refusing to comply with the directive.” For more information on UI eligibility and benefits, visit DOL’s FAQ.

Related Content: Small Business News | New York

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