Two pending lawsuits have further complicated the paid sick leave ordinances in Dallas and San Antonio. The ordinances, originally effective August 1, 2019, require many private employers in San Antonio and Dallas to provide their employees up to 8 days of paid sick leave per year. Although the Dallas ordinance went into effect as scheduled, it was subject to an immediate lawsuit in which the plaintiffs are currently seeking injunctive relief. On the other hand, implementation of the San Antonio ordinance is stayed until December 1, 2019, as a result of a court order in the lawsuit challenging the ordinance. Because the Texas Legislature recently ended its session without passing a proposed bill prohibiting such ordinances, any near-term relief from compliance with the ordinances is likely to come from the lawsuits.
The City of Austin passed a similar local ordinance, initially set to take effect August 1 as well. However, the Austin ordinance is currently enjoined by court order after a Texas appellate court found the ordinance to be unconstitutional and preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act. The issue is currently on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. Given the injunction and the pending appeal, the City of Austin is postponing the effective date for its Earned Sick Time Ordinance until the Texas Supreme Court issues a ruling. Any such ruling could also affect the validity of the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances.
All three city ordinances are similar, each requiring private employers of any size to provide paid sick leave to their employees, accrued at one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked. Workers are permitted to accrue up to 64 hours of paid sick leave each year, if their employer has at least fifteen employees. Employers with less than fifteen employees must provide up to 48 hours of permitted leave. Employers must also issue a monthly accounting or similar notice to their employees, apprising them of their then–available accrued paid sick leave. In addition, Dallas and San Antonio employers must include a notice of employee rights and remedies under the respective ordinances in the employee handbook, if applicable. Violations may result in a civil fine of up to $500 per violation.
Employers with San Antonio- and Dallas-based employees should prepare for these upcoming changes, as necessary, considering the status of the pending lawsuits. To learn more about the Dallas paid sick leave ordinance, read our recent Quick Study.