Intro 1399 Relating to Flexible Work Arrangements

TESTIMONY

of

Carl Hum

Senior Vice President

Management Services and Government Affairs

The Real Estate Board of New York

before the

New York City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor

on

Introduction No. 1399

 

M E M O R A N D U M  O F  O P P O S I T I O N

DATE: May 26, 2017

INTRO NO: 1399

SUMMARY: Establishes a right for employees to seek flexible work arrangements and a “right to receive” flexible work arrangements in certain emergency situations.

SPONSORS: Rose, Lander, Dromm, Cumbo, Kallos, Constantinides, Levin, Cohen, Reynoso, Levine, Rosenthal, Johnson, Salamanca, Van Bramer, Torres, Lancman, Menchaca, Chin, Cabrera, Espinal, Eugene, Maisel, Williams, Barron, Miller, Ferreras-Copeland, Treyger, Richards, King, Perkins, Rodriguez and the Public Advocate (Ms. James)

REBNY OPPOSES INTRO No. 1399.

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), representing over 17,000 owners, developers, managers and brokers of real property in New York City, opposes Intro No. 1399 because it is overly broad and captures many employees who might otherwise be covered by flexible work arrangements.

Intro No. 1399 was introduced in 2016 as part of a larger package of bills aimed to address the challenges faced by fast food and retail workers. However, as written, this bill covers all employers and employees. For example, a receptionist working at an office operating from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. would be allowed to request a flexible work schedule from his/her employer. The bill would require the employer to engage in an “interactive process” with the employee before making a final determination. The result of this process would likely be a rejection since the receptionist’s work could only be performed during regular business hours when the office is open. This is just one example of how the bill’s broadness will lead to many situations like this. 

The bill should be amended to specifically address its intended audience, which is the fast food and retail establishment of employees and employers.[1] This seems to be where the challenges of last-minute work scheduling are the most problematic.[2]

REBNY suggests the following amendments:

  • Exempt employers with existing policies for flexible arrangements. Submission of employee handbooks outlining such policies may be submitted to the Department of Consumer Affairs for exemption.

  • Exempt employers and employees working under Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBAs) that may have provisions for flexible time or requirements for certain employees to be on the job-site.

  • Focus on employees who are less likely to have such arrangements by only applying to federally non-exempt employees eligible for overtime under the Fair Labor and Standards Act. This will exclude federally exempt employees such as executives, managers and other professional employees.

  • Similar to the Paid Sick Leave Act, Intro No. 1399 should require an employee to work a minimum number of hours in New York City before they are eligible.

  • Small businesses of 50 employees or less should be exempted. The administrative costs to implement this bill will overly burden small businesses.

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[1] See, City Council Committee on Civil Service and Labor Hearing. New York City Council (March 3, 2016) (Opening  remarks of Councilmember Daneek I. Miller)

[2] Ibid.