airport workers outside on tarmac

Healthy Terminals Act

Overview

New York’s Healthy Terminals Act (the “Act”) establishes specific standards for wage rates for covered airport workers at covered airport locations. The Act requires that employers of covered airport workers provide an hourly standard benefits supplemental rate in addition to the applicable hourly minimum wage.

Certification Requirement

Section 696-b of the law requires airport employers to submit a sworn statement no later than March 31, 2021 to the Commissioner of Labor. The certifying statement must include the following information:

  • The total number of workers employed by the employer at a covered airport  location to perform cleaning and related services, security related services, in terminal and passenger handling services, airline catering, or airport lounge services, at the covered airport location on December 30, 2020
  • The number equal to 80% of the total number of employees above (as the December 30, 2020 benchmark). 
  • An affirmation that the employer will ensure that the number of covered airport workers it employs at a covered airport location between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022 is no less than the December 30, 2020 benchmark.    
  • The employer certification should be sent to: [email protected]      
     

The certification requirement also applies to any successor airport employer. Prior to employing the airport workers, a successor airport employer also must: 

  • Obtain the applicable December 30, 2020 benchmark from the Commissioner of Labor
  • Submit an affirmation that it will ensure that the number of the covered airport workers it employs at a covered airport location between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2022 is no less than the December 30, 2020 benchmark.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What airports are covered by Act?
A: A “covered airport location” includes John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, and any related location in the State used to perform “airline catering work.”  Airline catering work includes work related to the preparation or delivery of food or beverage for consumption on airplanes departing from a covered airport location or a related location. 

 

Q: What employers are covered by the Act?
A: Employer for purposes of the Act includes all private sector employers and their successor employers who employ covered airport workers.    

 

Q: Who is a “covered airport worker”?
A: A covered airport worker is any person employed to perform work at a covered airport location that works in one of five specified categories and at least one-half (1/2) of the person’s time during any workweek is spent at a covered airport location. 

Covered airport workers include only: (i) Employees employed at a covered airport location on December 30, 2020 who work an average of at least 30 hours per week; and (ii) Employees employed at a covered airport location on or after January 1, 2023 who work an average of 30 hours per week. 

 

Q: What are the categories of covered airport workers?
A: There are five categories of covered airport workers:

  1. Cleaning and related services, including building cleaning, including warehouse, kitchen, and terminal cleaning, including common areas, gateways, gates, lounges, clubs, concession areas, terminal entryways from ramp and where planes park at the gate, and other nearby facilities used for the preparation, packaging, and storage of inflight meals and supplies aircraft and cabin cleaning, including lavatory and water disposal and replenishment, lift truck driving and helping, dispatching, cleaning crew driving, and sorting and packing of inflight materials, such as blankets, pillows, and magazines;
  2. Security related services, including catering security, escorting, escort security, passenger aircraft security, fire guarding, terminal security, baggage security, traffic  security, cargo screening, including  guarding, warehouse security, concessions and airport lounge security, security dispatch, and security at nearby facilities used for the preparation, packaging, and storage of inflight meals;
  3. In terminal and passenger handling services, including baggage handling, sky cap services, wheelchair attending, wheelchair dispatching, customer and passenger services, line queue, identification checking, porter services for baggage, and passenger and employee shuttle driving.
  4. Airline catering, including work related to the preparation or delivery of food or beverage for consumption on airplanes departing from a covered airport location or related location; or
  5. Airport lounge services, including food and retail services.

 

Q: What workers are excluded from coverage under Act? 

  • Anyone who works in one of the following non-covered categories is excluded from this Act:
    • Non-cleaning and security related cargo and ramp services, including ramp baggage and cargo handling, load  control  and  ramp  communication,  aircraft  mechanics and fueling of aircraft, provision of cooling, heating, and power, passenger aircraft servicing, cabin equipment maintenance, guiding aircraft  in  and out of gates, and gate side aircraft maintenance;
    • Ramp and tarmac maintenance services, including operation of snowplows, ramp cleaning vehicles, and tarmac sweepers;
    • Concession services, including food service, which includes food and beverage service, wait service, and cashiers, and retail service, which includes news, and gifts, and duty-free;
  • Direct employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, or any workers hired by companies contracted by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and performing work under the contract; and 
  • Persons employed in an executive, administrative, or professional capacity as defined in subparagraph one of paragraph (a) of section thirteen of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

 

Q: What is the applicable standard rate of pay for covered airport workers?
A: “Applicable standard rate" is a combination of the “standard wage rate” and the “standard benefits supplemental rate.” The “standard wage rate” is the applicable minimum wage rate for covered airport workers, including a rate that is established through a policy of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The “standard benefits supplemental rate” is an hourly supplement of four dollars and fifty-four cents ($4.54) toward the cost of minimum essential coverage under an eligible employer-sponsored health care plan.

 

Q: Do covered airport workers receive the standard benefits supplemental rate for all hours worked?

A: No. The standard benefits supplemental rate only applies to the first forty hours worked by each covered airport worker in each week and does not apply to any overtime hours. 

 

Q: What is an “eligible employer-sponsored plan”?

A: An eligible employer-sponsored plan is group health insurance offered by, or on behalf of, an employer. Eligible employer-sponsored plans may also include a self-insured group health plan offered by an employer.

 

Q: What if an employer is paying the applicable standard rate for some but not all of a covered airport worker’s weekly hours?

A: While the Healthy Terminals Act requires employers to pay the standard benefits supplement rate to the first forty hours worked by each covered airport worker in each week, the Department will be exercising enforcement discretion at the present time to allow businesses a reasonable period to make operational adjustments, and will consider a range of factors, including whether covered airport workers are receiving hourly supplements sufficient to provide adequate health care coverage. Additionally, for Department of Labor enforcement purposes, an employer providing 33 hours or more of the standard benefits supplement rate in each week will be deemed to have met a sufficient benefit threshold for the covered workers. The Department will not assess civil penalties or issue Orders to Comply under such circumstances.

 

Q: What are the employer’s posting requirements?
A: Employers must post the digest and summary of this Act prepared by the Commissioner in a conspicuous place in their establishments and post additional copies as required by the Commissioner. Upon their request, DOL will provide employers with free copies of the Act, orders, digests, and summaries. 

 

Q: What records must an employer maintain?
A: Employers must maintain, for at least six years, contemporaneous, true, and accurate payroll records showing the hours worked and compensation for each week worked for every employee covered by the Act, plus any additional information required by the Commissioner.
For all covered airport workers who are not exempt from overtime compensation, the payroll records must include the compensation provided and the regular hourly rate or rates of pay, the overtime rate or rates, the number of regular hours worked, the number of overtime hours worked, and the cost of benefits and/or benefit supplements.