Dallas Paid-Sick-Leave Law Takes Effect Despite Lawsuit to Block It

 

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A Dallas ordinance took effect Aug. 1 requiring employers to provide workers with six to eight paid sick days a year, depending on employer size. Businesses in north Texas, however, filed a lawsuit two days before the effective date asking a federal judge to halt the new law.

Similar ordinances have been delayed in Austin and San Antonio, but the judge has yet to issue an order in the Dallas case.

We've rounded up the latest news on this topic. Here are SHRM Online resources and news articles from other trusted media outlets.

Dallas Officials Didn't Delay Implementation

A city official confirmed that the ordinance took effect Aug. 1 and that the city expects covered businesses—those with at least six employees—to comply. However, the city will not enforce the ordinance until April 1, 2020. Businesses with five or fewer employees have until August 2021 to comply. The ordinance covers employees who work at least 80 hours a year in Dallas. Eligible workers must be allowed to accrue at least one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Businesses with at least 15 employees can cap accruals at 64 hours and businesses with fewer employees can limit annual accruals to 48 hours. 

(The Texas Tribune)

Opponents Say Law Interferes with Employment Relationship

The two businesses that sued asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to block the local ordinance while the lawsuit is being decided. "The issue is government coming in and inserting itself in the relationship between the employers and employees and mandating a one-size-fits-all requirement that interferes with the autonomy of employees to negotiate with their own businesses," said Robert Henneke, a representative from conservative nonprofit Texas Public Policy Foundation and an attorney for the businesses in the lawsuit. Employee advocates, however, argue that Dallas residents should have the right to take a day off from work when they get sick.

(Dallas News)

San Antonio Delayed Local Mandate

San Antonio employers have a little more time before they must offer workers paid sick leave. The local ordinance was also set to take effect Aug. 1 but was postponed to Dec. 1 while a court battle ensues. The city's mandate will allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to accrue up to 64 paid hours of sick leave per year and workers at smaller businesses to accrue up to 48 hours.

(SHRM Online)

Court Said Austin's Law Is Pre-Empted

Austin lawmakers had also approved a paid-sick-leave law, but on Nov. 16, 2018, a state appellate court temporarily halted Austin's paid-sick-leave ordinance, finding that the Texas Minimum Wage Act preempts the city's ordinance. The city of Austin has asked the Texas Supreme Court to review the decision, but the state high court may not issue a ruling on the matter for a while.

(SHRM Online)

[SHRM members-only state coverage: Texas Employment Law]

SHRM Supports Nationwide Solution

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) supports the lawsuit challenging Austin's paid-sick-leave law. "The solution here is not another sick-leave mandate—we need a nationwide solution that works for both employers and employees," said Johnny C. Taylor, Jr., SHRM-SCP, president and chief executive officer of SHRM. 

(SHRM Online)

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