CLIENT UPDATE

Putney, Twombly, Hall & Hirson LLP
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August 13, 2018

New York City’s Temporary Schedule Change Law

On July 18, 2018, the New York City Temporary Schedule Change Law (the “Temporary Schedule Law”) came into effect. The Temporary Schedule Law allows employees who work in the City of New York for up to two (2) temporary schedule changes per calendar year as needed for “personal events.” A “temporary change” means an adjustment to an employee’s usual schedule. Temporary changes can include short-term unpaid leave, paid time off, working remotely, or swapping or shifting work hours. The Temporary Schedule Law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who request these temporary schedule changes.

Temporary Changes Explained

Under the Temporary Schedule Law, each year employers are required to grant an employees’ request for a schedule change on at least two (2) separate occasions, each totaling a business day or on one (1) occasion for up to two (2) business days. Employees are not required to provide any supporting documentation nor are they subject to any minimum notice requirements.

Employees are also allowed to request additional changes to their schedules beyond the time afforded to them by the Temporary Schedule Law. While employers are not required to grant any additional request, they may not retaliate against employees for making such requests.

An employee is entitled to propose the type of temporary change that she desires, and employers must approve the proposal or offer leave without pay. Though employers may offer an employee the ability to use paid time off to meet her need for a schedule change, they are not required to do so. Moreover, employers are barred from requiring that a requesting employee use leave she earned under New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law.

Qualifying Personal Events

An employee’s request qualifies as a “personal event” if it is:


  • To provide care to a minor child or to a person living in the caregiver’s household with a disability who relies on the caregiver for medical care or the needs of daily living;
  • To attend a legal proceeding or hearing for subsistence benefits to which the employee, a family member or the employee’s care recipient is a party; or
  • Any reason that would qualify for leave under New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law.

Covered Employees

The Temporary Schedule Law generally covers all employees working in New York City. However, the Temporary Schedule Law does not cover an employee if she:


  • Is covered by a valid collective bargaining agreement if such agreement explicitly waives the provisions of this subchapter and addresses temporary changes to work schedules or if such CBA was enacted prior to the enacted of the Temporary Schedule Change Law;
  • Has been employed by the employer for fewer than 120 days;
  • Works fewer than 80 hours in the City in a calendar year;
  • Is employed by an employer whose primary business is the development, creation or distribution of theatrical motion pictures, televised motion pictures, television programs or live entertainment presentations, unless the employee’s primary duty involves performing routine manual, physical and mechanical or non-manual work directly related to the management or general business operations of the employer or the employer's customers.

Notice of Rights

Employers must post the notice “You Have a Right to Temporary Changes to Your Work Schedule” where employees can easily see it at each NYC workplace. Employers must post this notice in English and in any language that is the primary language of at least 5 percent of the workers at a workplace if the translation is available.

Prohibition on Retaliatory Conduct

Employers are barred from taking any adverse action against an employee that penalizes such employee for, or is reasonably likely to deter such employee from, exercising or attempting to exercise any right protected under this chapter.

Takeaway

With the passage of the Temporary Schedule Law, employers now carry the burden of ensuring that all of their workplace policies regarding schedule changes are in compliance and that their managers and supervisors are aware of temporary schedule change rights afforded to their employees. Employers should either implement new policies, or revise their current policies so that they are consistent with the standards of the Temporary Schedule Law and inform their managers and supervisors about how to address schedule change requests. Going forward, employers who are subject to a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) should review the terms of their agreements to ensure that it includes clear disclaimers that the parties have agreed to waive the terms of the Temporary Schedule Change Law. Moreover, employers should ensure that their CBAs provide employees with rights that are the same or comparable to the rights afforded to them under the Temporary Schedule Law. Employers with expiring CBAs must be aware that the terms of the Temporary Schedule Law will apply to their employers upon the conclusion of the existing agreement.

We are of course available to assist in drafting and reviewing such agreements, and in advising employers on the Temporary Schedule Change Law.

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