NYC Temporary Schedule Change Law

This new law is now in effect in New York City. In short, the law permits an eligible employee to change/modify his or her schedule, hours, or location of work for certain “personal events.” Those events include, among other things, the need to care for a minor or a family member with a disability; certain legal proceedings; and any reason for leave under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law. Generally, an eligible employee is one who has been employed for at least 120 days and works 80 or more hours per year in New York City. An eligible employee is entitled to make a schedule change on two separate days during the year, or on one occasion for two days. If the employer cannot otherwise approve the employee’s requested schedule change, the employee must either be provided with leave without pay or the option to use paid time off pursuant to whatever may be the employer’s policy. However, the employee cannot be required to use paid leave accrued under the NYC Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law for a temporary schedule change request.

A request for a temporary schedule change may be made orally or in writing, informing the employer of the date of the change and confirming that the change is due to personal event, and proposing the type of change desired. The employer cannot require an employee to submit documents substantiating the request or serving as proof of the “personal event.” If the request is made orally, a written request must be provided no later than two (2) business days after the employee’s return to work, with the employer required to respond in writing within fourteen (14) days, despite the fact that the request already was granted or denied.

Employers cannot retaliate against employees for exercising their rights under the law and cannot prohibit an employee from requesting a temporary schedule change on any particular day, even despite a lack of notice. Records relating to compliance with the law, including documents memorializing temporary schedule change requests and responses, must be kept for at least three (3) years.

The law does come with a notice requirement – the required poster must be posted in an 11″x17″ copy, in English as well as in any language that is the primary language of at least 5% of the employees at the workplace, if the translation is available on the Office of Labor Policy & Standards website. Currently only the English poster is available, and is found here. However, employers are not required to address the law in their employee handbooks.

If it seems as if the new law is extraordinarily employee friendly, does not consider the burden on the employer, and makes little sense in terms of its procedure, the reader’s impression is correct. Nevertheless, there is a FAQ intended to assist in compliance, here. We of course are available to address any questions.

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