NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) Commissioner Lorelei Salas announced on Wednesday, June 10, 2020, the launch of the Worker Protection Hotline and other resources to help New York City workers navigate the return to work including what health and safety practices are required for businesses, what protective equipment must be made available, their right to sick leave, and more. Workers are also encouraged to call the hotline to report employers that are not following the reopening requirements, which can be done anonymously. DCWP’s Worker Protection Hotline is available Monday through Friday, 09:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. by calling 311 or 212-436-0381.
“As our city reopens, many workers are understandably worried and have questions—we are here to guide them so that they feel safe,” said DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas. “Whether it is a question about your rights or you’re concerned because your employers doesn’t have the required health and safety measures in place, we are here to help. Workers can contact us anonymously by calling 311.”
DCWP’s new educational resources for workers include an overview of their rights as they return to work (Reopening NYC: What Workers Need to Know) and frequently asked questions about reopening (Reopening NYC: Frequently Asked Questions for NYC Workers). Both will soon be available in multiple languages. DCWP also has a summary of City labor laws for employers and employees during the crisis (Update about Workplace Laws as NYC Seeks to Stop the Spread of the New Coronavirus (COVID-19)), which is available in multiple languages and also provides an overview of local, state and federal sick leave laws. Employers with questions can call 888-727-4692 or visit nyc.gov/business.
DCWP also enforces the City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, which provides workers with up to 40 hours of sick leave per year. Workers can use NYC sick leave for themselves or to care for a family member for a broad range of uses, including treatment, recovery or preventative care relating to COVID-19, to care for a child whose school has been closed as a result of the pandemic, or if their workplace has been closed by an Executive Order relating to the pandemic. DCWP is prioritizing response to COVID-19 related sick leave complaints and workers can contact DCWP confidentially for information or to file a complaint.
Beginning Monday, June 08, 2020, as part of Phase 1, agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, construction, manufacturing, retail (curbside or in-store pickup or drop off only), and wholesale trade started to reopen. Employers must follow mandatory guidelines, which include:
- post a safety plan at the worksite where workers can see it;
- provide workers with training on hygiene and safety practices;
- conduct an employee health screening every day and make sure sick employees go home;
- give workers free face coverings and provide replacements;
- ensure that both workers and any customers maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance or wear face coverings;
- provide and maintain hand hygiene stations that include soap, water, and paper towels, and/or contact-free hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol;
- regularly clean shared equipment and frequently touched surfaces;
- post signs and put tape or other markers to show people where to stand.
About Department of Consumer and Worker Protection
NYC Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) protects and enhances the daily economic lives of New Yorkers to create thriving communities. DCWP licenses more than 75,000 businesses in more than 50 industries and enforces key consumer protection, licensing, and workplace laws that apply to countless more. By supporting businesses through equitable enforcement and access to resources and, by helping to resolve complaints, DCWP protects the marketplace from predatory practices and strives to create a culture of compliance. Through its community outreach and the work of its offices of Financial Empowerment and Labor Policy & Standards, DCWP empowers consumers and working families by providing the tools and resources they need to be educated consumers and to achieve financial health and work-life balance. DCWP also conducts research and advocates for public policy that furthers its work to support New York City’s communities.