Additional Protections for Temporary Schedule Changes for Employees under New York City’s Paid Sick Time Law

Valerie D. Ringel and Anna Svensson

Recently, the New York City Council passed a bill amending New York City’s Paid Sick Time Law (the “Act”), aiming to protect employees seeking temporary changes to their work schedules in certain circumstances. The Act was previously amended, effective May 5, 2018, and allows employees to take “safe time” off in connection with family offense matters (such as disorderly conduct between members of the same family or household and other criminal offenses), sexual offenses, stalking and human trafficking. The bill is an expansion of the Act and 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 personal circumstances arise that would constitute a basis for permissible use of safe time or sick time. Effective July 18, 2018, the amendment 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 amendment 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 Act 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 amendment 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 Act, 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 Act or any of your obligations as an employer, our Blank Rome team is available to assist you.

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