Additional Protections for Temporary Schedule Changes for Employees under New York City Law

Valerie D. Ringel and Anna Svensson

Recently, the New York City Council passed a bill aiming to protect employees seeking temporary changes to their work schedules in certain circumstances. The bill permits employees to make two temporary schedule changes per calendar year, such as paid time off, working remotely, swapping or shifting work hours and unpaid leave when certain personal circumstances arise, including circumstances that would constitute a basis for permissible use of safe time or sick time. Effective July 18, 2018, the bill expands permissible use to include the following:

  1. Care for a minor child or a family or household member with a disability that relies on the employee for medical care or assistance with the needs of daily living, and
  2. Attendance at a legal proceeding or hearing for subsistence benefits for the employee or a family member or care recipient.

The bill imposes on both employees and employers certain notice and response obligations, and establishes a written communication process to address such requests. It also protects employees from employer retaliation for making a schedule change request. The bill provides protection to all employees who work in New York City, have been employed by their employer for at least 120 days, and work at least 80 hours in a calendar year. The bill also requires that all employers in the City, without respect to how many employees they have, permit their employees to make covered temporary changes. However, it exempts employees who are covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement that waives provisions of the bill, as well as employees that perform certain manual or non-office work for motion picture, television, or live entertainment presentations.

More information can be found at the New York City Council Legislative Research Center website. We recommend that New York City employers review their current practices and revise their scheduling and payroll if necessary. If you have any questions about the bill or any of your obligations as an employer, our Blank Rome team is available to assist you.

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