Key Takeaways:

  • Under the new law, which goes into effect on February 19, 2023, employers cannot retaliate against or discipline employees for taking lawful absences from work.
  • Employers should not attempt to dissuade or inadvertently deter employees from taking lawful absences from work.
  • Employers should consult their human resources department and time-off policies to ensure their internal practices do not infringe on their employees' right to take legally permitted time-off.

New York has passed a new law intended to ensure that workers are permitted to take lawful absences from work without being penalized. The new measure amends Section 215 of the New York Labor Law to prohibit an employer from discharging, threatening, penalizing, discriminating or retaliating against an employee for taking time-off from work to which they are entitled under federal, state or local law. It also prevents employers from indirectly deterring employees from using their legally allotted time-off. Under the new law, employers cannot deduct time or assess points against an employee's time-bank, which in turn could subject the employee to disciplinary action, as a means of penalizing the employee for using their legally allotted time-off. Additionally, employers cannot discharge, threaten, penalize, discriminate or retaliate against an employee, for making a complaint that the employer engaged in the aforementioned prohibited conduct. The new bill becomes effective February 19, 2023.

Employers should review their time-off and attendance policies to ensure they comply with the new law. The main purpose behind S.B. S1958A is to prevent employers from deducting time from employee time-banks or assessing points on employees as a means of retaliating against workers who use their legally permitted time-off. In order to avoid any compliance issues, employers should ensure that their policies do not facilitate any retaliatory action against any employee taking a lawful absence from work.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.