June 04, 2019
Late last month, the City Council of Dallas passed an ordinance requiring employers to provide paid sick leave to employees by August 21, 2019, mirroring similar ordinances in Austin and San Antonio. A few details include:
- Employers with existing leave programs: Deems employers compliant if existing leave policies meet or exceed the ordinance’s requirements.
- Accrual, cap, carryover and frontloading: Requires employers to provide employees with 1 hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked. Caps accrual at 64 hours per year and allows employees to carry over 64 hours to the next year. Instead of carryover, employers may choose to front-load 64 hours at the beginning of the year.
- Waiting period: Permits employers to set a 60-day waiting period before employees may use leave.
- Employee use of leave during year: Permits employers to restrict employee use to 8 days in a calendar year.
- Eligible employees and employers: Applies to most employers except federal and state employers. Excludes employees who work less than 80 hours per year in the city.
- Family members: Defines family members very broadly to include individuals related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family member.
However, the local ordinances may not take effect if the Texas legislature preempts them. The Texas Senate passed a bill (SB 2847) that would preempt localities from enforcing local rules impacting employment leave. The bill is now in the House, and if passed and signed by Governor Greg Abbott (R), would take effect September 1, 2019. Apart from the legislature’s actions, the Texas Supreme Court is expected to rule on an appellate court decision declaring the Texas Minimum Wage Act, which preempts localities from setting different wage standards than the state, preempts Austin’s ordinance.
It is increasingly unlikely that the local Texas PSL ordinances will take effect given the state legislative action. On a parallel track, legal proceedings are ongoing, and a decision is not expected for another few months.