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BREAKING NEWS: NYC's Temporary Schedule Change Law

On July 18, 2018, New York City's Temporary Schedule Change Law went into effect. Under the law, covered employees have a right to temporary changes to their work schedule for certain "personal events."

Temporary change

A "temporary change" means an adjustment to an employee's usual schedule. This can include: using short-term unpaid leave, paid time off, working remotely, or swapping or shifting working hours.

Personal event

A "personal event" can be any of the following:

  • The need to care for a child under the age of 18
  • The need to care for a "care recipient," a person with a disability who is a family or household member and relies on the employee for medical care or to meet the needs of daily living
  • The need to attend a legal proceeding or hearing for public benefits to which the employee, a family member, or the employee's minor child or care recipient is a party
  • Any other reason for which the employee may use leave under NYC's Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law

Family member

"Family members" include:

  • Any individual whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of family
  • Child (biological, adopted, or foster child; legal ward; child of an employee standing in loco parentis)
  • Grandchild
  • Spouse
  • Domestic Partner
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Child or Parent of an employee's spouse or domestic partner
  • Sibling (including a half, adopted, or step sibling)
  • Any other individual related by blood to the employee

Employees Covered by the Law

All employees who work 80+ hours per calendar year in NYC and who have been employed by their employer 120 or more days

Employees NOT Covered by the Law

  • Government employees
  • Certain employees subject to a collective bargaining agreement
  • Certain employees in motion picture, television, and live entertainment industries

Notice of Rights

Employers must post a 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 five percent of the workers at a workplace if the translation is available on the DCA website nyc.gov/dca.

Overview of Employee Rights

Temporary change to work schedule on up to two occasions each calendar year

The change must be to accommodate a personal event (see above). The employer must grant requests for up to:

  • Two separate occasions, each totaling one business day or
  • One occasion for up to two business days

Freedom from retaliation for additional schedule change requests

The employee can request additional changes to his/her schedule. Employers are not required to grant additional requests; however, they cannot retaliate against the employee.

Ability to propose type of temporary change

The employee can propose the type of temporary change he/she would like. The employer must:

  • Approve the employee proposal; or
  • Provide leave without pay.

The employer may

  • Offer the ability to use paid time off. The law does not, however, require employers to offer paid time off, and the employee need not accept such an offer.
  • If an employer has an existing policy allowing employees to request a temporary schedule change, the policy must meet or exceed the requirements of the law.

Requesting a temporary schedule change

As soon as employees become aware of the need for a temporary schedule change, they should request one from their employer or direct supervisor either orally or in writing. The request should include:

  • Date of the temporary schedule change
  • That the change is due to a personal event
  • Proposed type of temporary change (unless the employee would like to use leave without pay)

Employer's Response

If an employee requested the schedule change orally (for example, in person or by phone), the employee must submit a written request no later than the second business day after the employee returns to work. The employee should include in the written request the date of the temporary schedule change and that the change was due to a personal event.

Employers must provide a written response within 14 days. The response must include

  • If the request was granted or denied
  • How the request was accommodated (if granted), or the reason for denial (if denied)
  • Number of requests the employee has made for temporary schedule changes
  • How many days the employee has left in the year for temporary schedule changes

Note: If the employee does not submit a written request, the employer is not required to provide a written response, but cannot deny the request because the employee did not submit a written request.

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