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NYC Proposal Would Prohibit Employers From Requiring Employees to Check Email After Work

BY: APA Staff | 04/13/18

On March 22, a New York City council member introduced a bill that would prohibit private employers from requiring employees who work in the city to check and respond to email and other electronic communications (text messages and other digital means of conveying data electronically) during non-work hours (Int. No. 726). If enacted (meaning passed by the New York City Council and signed by the mayor), the bill would take effect immediately.

The bill applies to private employers with 10 or more employees. An employee is defined, in part, as working more than 80 hours in a calendar year within the city of New York on a full- or part-time basis.

Employers would be required to adopt a written policy regarding employee use of electronic devices and would have to include the usual work hours for each class of employee and the categories of paid time off employees are entitled to (use of paid time off would be considered non-work hours). The bill would not apply to employees who are required to be on call 24 hours a day when they are working.

Employer penalties

An employee alleging a violation of the law would have the right to file a complaint with the city against his or her employer. An employer found to be in violation would be liable for a civil penalty of up to $500 for the first offense. For subsequent violations that occur within two years of the first violation, the employer would be subject to penalties of up to $750 for the second violation, and $1,000 for each additional violation.