Jan 31, 2018 General Employment Issues

New York City Office of Labor Policy and Standards Issues Notice of Rights and Frequently Asked Questions Regarding New Temporary Schedule Change Law

As previously reported here, New York City’s Temporary Schedule Change Law requires  New York City employers to grant employees two temporary schedule changes per year for certain medical and family care purposes, effective July 18, 2018. The New York City Office of Labor Policy and Standards (OLPS) has now posted a Notice of Employee Rights on its website, along with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). Employers must conspicuously post the notice in all New York City workplaces in English and in any other language that is the primary language of at least 5% of the workers at a workplace if the OLPS has published a notice in such language.

As explained in our prior article and the new FAQs, the Temporary Schedule Change Law requires employers to grant an employee’s request for a schedule change either twice per calendar year, for up to one business day per request, or once per calendar year for two business days for a single request. An employer may grant a schedule change by allowing the employee:

  • to change the employee’s work hours;
  • to use a day of unpaid leave;
  • to use employer-provided paid time off;
  • to work remotely; or
  • to swap shifts with another employee.

The two required schedule changes are in addition to the 40 hours of paid sick leave employees accrue under the New York City Earned Safe and Sick Time Act. Employers are only permitted to deny a covered employee’s request for a schedule change if: (1) the employee has already exhausted the two allotted requests in the calendar year; or (2) the employee did not have a qualifying reason for the request. 

The FAQs address several open questions regarding the application of this law in the workplace. For example,

  • Employers cannot require an employee to provide documentation supporting the employee’s need for a schedule change and cannot discipline an employee for failing to provide such documentation. An employer may, however, discipline an employee if it learns that the employee falsely claimed to have a “personal event” as defined under the law.
  • Employers cannot require employees to provide a specified period of advance notice of the need for a schedule change and may only require notice “as soon as practicable,” which in some cases could be after the temporary schedule change has occurred.
  • Employers may not prohibit employees from requesting or using a temporary schedule change on specific days.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of our attorneys if you have any questions about this new law.