How Does the NYC Temporary Schedule Change Law Impact Employers?

Jul 30, 2018
| David Pearson
NYC Temporary Schedule Change Law

This past January, the New York City Council passed a bill that required employers to provide employees with two temporary schedule changes per calendar year. Employees would be able to use these two changes for personal events that qualified under the law.

On July 18, 2018, the NYC Temporary Schedule Change Law officially took effect.

Failing to comply with the new law could result in penalties and fines for employers in New York City, which is why it is critical for business leaders to understand the new law and what is required of them.

What Does the New Law Mean for Employers in New York City?

The new law requires employers to provide two temporary schedule changes to their employees, as long as they are for qualifying events.

Employees can use their two allotted changes for the following requests:
  • A limited change to an employee’s scheduled hours
  • A temporary change to the employee’s work location
  • Using paid time off
  • Asking to work remotely
  • Seeking to swap shifts with a co-worker
  • Permission to use short-term unpaid leave

However, only certain personal events qualify for use of temporary schedule changes under the new law. The three main events are:
  • To provide care to a minor or to someone living in the caregiver’s house who relies on the caregiver for medical care or the needs of daily living
  • To attend a legal hearing where the employee, a family member, or the employee’s care recipient is a party
  • To attend to any circumstances that would constitute a basis for use of safe time or sick time under the New York City Earned Sick and Safe Time Act

Employers are only obligated to grant their employees two temporary schedule changes per calendar year for up to one business day per request. Employers can deny a request only if the employee has used both of their temporary changes or if an exemption applies to the request.

Are There Exemptions Under the Law, and What Are The Penalties for Employers?

The NYC Temporary Schedule Change Law does not apply to employees who:
  • Are covered by a collective bargaining agreement that waives coverage and addresses scheduling changes
  • Have yet to work for 120 days or who do not work at least 80 hours in NYC in a calendar year
  • Perform manual or non-office work in the motion picture and television industries

As with all employment-related legislation, employers can face penalties for not complying with the law. 

New York City employers who fail to comply could be subject to a $500 fine for each violation, in addition to compensatory damages and penalties under the NYC Fair Workweek Law.

What Should Employers Do Now That the Law Is In Effect?

With the Temporary Schedule Change Law now in effect, employers who operate in New York City need to review their paid time off policies to make sure that they don’t violate any provisions in the new law.

It may also be worth the time to train business leaders and managers about the law so that they fully understand it, what requests fall under the law, and how to properly handle any requests that do come in from employees.

Doing so will help employers stay compliant and avoid any penalties associated with the Temporary Schedule Change Law.

Keep Up With New York and New York City Legislation News

New York and NYC have seen numerous employment legislation take effect already in 2018.

Laws around workplace sexual harassment, paid sick and safe time leave, paid family leave, and others are now on the books.

Employers in New York and New York City should stay up-to-date with all of the latest news surrounding future employment law changes and consult HR experts (if needed) to prepare for and ensure compliance once a law takes effect.

Doing so can save business owners money and headaches as more laws are passed in the coming years.

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