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Monthly Labor Review

New York City imposes residency requirements

New York City imposes residency requirements – on municipal workers

New York City imposes residency requirements

New York City joined the list of cities imposing residency requirements on municipal employees when the city council approved a bill requiring employees hired on or after September 1, 1986, to be residents or to move into the city within 90 days. Ultimately, the requirement will apply to 80,000 city employees. It does not apply to 180,000 employees in the city’s uniformed services or in independent agencies created by the State.

In 1978, the city council had adopted a bill requiring all municipal employees to reside in the city. However, in 1980 the State’s Court of Appeals held that the city did not have jurisdiction over the independent agencies and that the city’s law was superseded by a State law requiring the uniformed employees to reside in the city’s five boroughs or in six nearby New York counties.

While the city council was approving the new 1986 residency requirement, the State legislature approved a bill permitting uniformed employees who have been living in New York State but outside of New York City and the six nearby counties to remain where they are. The bill also requires city employees living outside the State to move into the metropolitan area within 1 year. Those hired for the uniformed services in the future will have to reside in the city or the six nearby counties.

A number of major cities have adopted employee residency requirements, including Boston, Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo. Generally, backers contend such requirements are proper because the employees serve the public better if they reside where they work, the employees are more readily available for emergency situations, and they aid the city’s economy by spending part of their pay locally.

Critics generally contend that residency requirements unfairly limit where employees may live and are particularly onerous for low-income employees.

COPYRIGHT 1986 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group