HR Update

HR Update: The Battle In Texas over Paid Sick Leave

By September 17, 2019 No Comments

The cities of Austin, Dallas and San Antonio have all passed local ordinances requiring employers doing business in these cities to provide paid time off for employees who would normally not be compensated for sick days. These laws require employers to offer paid sick time for illness or injury, medical appointments, domestic violence- or sexual assault- related matters, or for the care of a family member. In response, businesses and other interested parties have filed lawsuits seeking to block paid sick leave and asking for judicial determinations as to the legality of their respective ordinances. Opponents say paid sick leave would burden employers with additional expenses due to both costs and compliance.

Austin became the first city in Texas to pass a mandatory sick leave ordinance in February 2018.  The ordinance was immediately challenged by local businesses, as well as the Texas Attorney General’s Office and the matter is pending before the Texas Supreme Court.  The city of San Antonio passed its own ordinance which was supposed to have taken effect on August 1, 2019, but a collective lawsuit was immediately filed by several local businesses and associations. The parties to the lawsuit agreed to extend the implementation date to December 1, 2019 while they explore a possible resolution.

Dallas is the first city to implement their paid sick leave policy, which went into effect on August 1, 2019 for employers with five or more employees. Much like the cities of Austin and San Antonio, employees working in Dallas may begin earning one hour of leave for every 30 hours worked. Employers must start tracking sick leave and provide employees with a statement of all leave balances at least once per month.  The city is looking for voluntary compliance before seeking payment of fines, as they are not enforcing the ordinance until April 1, 2020.  Employers with five or fewer employees do not have to comply with the ordinance until August 1, 2021.

As it stands, none of the cities have been able to implement and enforce their respective paid sick leave laws. MBA will continue to monitor this issue and our HR Consultants are available to address any questions or concerns.  If you have questions or need assistance, please contact one of our HR Consultants at 888-622-6460.

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