Local Policy Update: Dallas’ Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Begins

The DRC Public Policy team has been communicating concerns, at the state and local level, regarding the planned implementation of the Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance that was passed by the previous Dallas City Council earlier this year.

The ordinance, which is set to take effect today, Aug. 1, requires employers to monitor their employees’ hours worked in the city of Dallas and provide paid sick time at the request of an employee.

At issue for the DRC and many of our member companies is that the ordinance creates inconsistent regulations, confusion, and unnecessary complications for employers and employees across the region and state. The DRC holds that a one-size-fits-all approach mandated in the ordinance regarding the record-keeping and method of calculating paid sick leave is not practical for businesses.

In addition, the DRC has serious concerns about the overly broad subpoena power granted to the City in this ordinance. More time is needed to get a full picture of the impact this ordinance can have on businesses of all sizes and from all industries.

We are also staying abreast of all paid sick leave ordinances in Texas. We want to continue to ensure our members are informed on ordinance implementation, city resources, and ordinance challenges statewide.

Following are some frequently asked questions about Dallas’ ordinance.

When is the City of Dallas ordinance effective?

  • Aug. 1, 2019 – for businesses with 6 or more employees
  • Aug. 1, 2021 – for businesses with 5 or fewer employees

What does paid sick leave mean?

Paid sick leave requires an employer to provide time off if an employee or the employee’s family member suffers illness, injury, stalking, domestic abuse, sexual assault, or otherwise requires medical or health care, including preventative care and mental health.

Who does the ordinance apply to and how many hours must be provided?

The ordinance applies to employees that work at least 80 hours in a 12-month time period, within the city of Dallas. Regardless, if the main business location is outside the city of Dallas, the policy follows the employee and the time they work within the Dallas city limits.

Employees are able to accrue one hour of paid sick leave per every 30 hours worked. An employer allocate the yearly cap at the beginning of the year (frontload) rather than using the accrual method.

Will enforcement begin on Aug. 1?

No. For employers with six or more employees, the City of Dallas will not enforce the ordinance until April 1, 2020. For employers with five or fewer employees, no part of the ordinance, including enforcement, goes into effect until Aug. 1, 2021. However, the city will enforce violations of the anti-retaliation provision.

Who administers paid sick leave?

The City of Dallas’ Office of Fair Housing and Human Rights oversees paid sick leave. The department is under the management of Liz Cedillo-Pereira, Chief of Equity and Inclusion.

Has the Dallas ordinance been challenged?

On July 30, a federal lawsuit was filed against City of Dallas in the Eastern District of Texas. The lawsuit was filed by Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) representing two Collin County companies – ESI/Employee Solutions LP and Hagan Law Group LLC. At the time of this blog submission, no hearing or conference had been set in the lawsuit.

What is the status of the Austin and San Antonio cases?

Following a legal challenge, an injunction was placed at the appellate level preventing the Austin ordinance from going into effect. The court also ruled that the ordinance was a violation of the Texas Minimum Wage Act. The City of Austin has appealed this decision and the case currently sits in the Texas Supreme Court. The Texas Supreme Court asked for briefings from all parties and the question now is whether the court will examine all issues presented.

In San Antonio, trade associations challenged their local paid sick leave ordinance; however, they were able to reach an agreement with the city of San Antonio to delay the effective date of the ordinance from Aug. 1 to Dec. 1, 2019. A commission, formed earlier this year, is continuing to work to provide recommendations to the council on possible changes to the ordinance.

Where can I find more information, such as rules and answers to other questions, about the ordinance?

The City of Dallas has established a paid sick leave website with more information on the ordinance. On this site, you can find the required signage in English and Spanish, as well as rules and FAQs. You can review the rules here. Recently, the City of Dallas added FAQs and scenarios for employers to review here. You can also find contact information to reach out to the City of Dallas if you have a questions.