Search Our Website:

In 2024, New York City is increasing the requirements on employers to promote awareness of legal rights and protections for workers. New York City Local Law No. 161 (2023), effective as of January 4, 2024, mandates that private employers in the City must provide employees with a "workers' bill of rights." This bill of rights will contain information on the rights and protections under federal, state, and local laws that apply to all employees in the City, irrespective of their immigration status.

The Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) will collaborate with the Mayor's Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA), the New York City Commission on Human Rights, and community and labor organizations to create and publish the bill of rights by March 1, 2024.

To comply with the law, employers are required to:

  • Display the workers' bill of rights prominently in the workplace; and,
  • Provide a copy of the bill of rights to all current employees and new employees upon hiring.

To ensure compliance with NYC Local Law No. 161, employers should understand the following key points:

  • The definition of an employer includes individuals, corporations, limited liability companies, or associations employing individuals in any private occupation, industry, trade, business, or service. 1
  • The workers' bill of rights will offer legal information on employees', prospective employees', or independent contractors' rights and protections under applicable federal, state, and local laws in the city. It will indicate which rights apply to all workers regardless immigration status, and also include information about the right to unionize.
  • To meet NYC Local Law No. 161's requirements, City employers must supply each existing employee with the workers' bill of rights no later than July 1, 2024. After July 1, every new hire must receive a copy of the notice on or before their first day of work.
  • Failure to comply with this law will lead to civil penalties of $500 for each violation, excluding the first offense. Upon the first offense, the commissioner will notify the business of the violation and provide 30 days for corrective action. During this period, the employer reserves the right to challenge the commissioner's findings.
  • The workers' bill of rights will be available on the city's website in English, the designated citywide languages (Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Bengali, Haitian-Creole, and Korean), and other temporary languages (Arabic, Urdu, French, and Polish).
  • To ensure accessibility, employers are required to provide the workers' bill of rights in languages other than English if it is the primary language of at least 5% of their employees and also one of the designated citywide or temporary languages. In such cases, employers must track the number of primary non-English speakers employed and if the population exceeds the threshold, utilize the translated rill of rights forms made available online.
  • The workers’ bill of rights must be displayed prominently which means it must be in a "conspicuous location" or an area throughout the workplace that is accessible and visible to employees. In the case of online or mobile application workplaces, or where employees regularly communicate with each other via an online platform, employers must make the bill of rights available electronically on their platform.
  • The term "employee" includes any person who is hired within New York City for more than 80 hours in a calendar year, whether on a full-time, part-time, or transitional jobs program basis.

NYC Local Law No. 161 also authorizes the MOIA, in partnership with the DCWP and community and labor groups, to conduct outreach programs. These initiatives will include providing contact information for resources like the City's Immigration Legal Hotline and Asylum Application Help Center, details on immigration legal services, information regarding expectations when immigration enforcement authorities visit workplaces, and information about eligibility requirements for Temporary Protected Status. No similar outreach plan has been designed by the City with regard to employers and compliance with the new law.

At Buchanan, we are dedicated to guiding clients through the intricate landscape of employment law, including compliance with New York City’s various local laws, such as NYC Local Law No. 161. If you have any questions about New York or New York City employment laws or regulations, Buchanan’s team of labor and employment attorneys stands ready to offer assistance.

  1. New York Consolidated Laws, Labor Law (LAB) § 190, Article 6.