Status of Sick Leave Ordinances in Texas Cities

Labor & Employment Workforce Watch
January 2020

The City of Dallas Earned Paid Sick Time Ordinance (the “Dallas Ordinance”) went into effect on August 1, 2019 for employers with six (6) or more employees. To allow employers time to become compliant with the Dallas Ordinance, the City of Dallas stated it would not enforce the Dallas Ordinance, except for violations of the anti-retaliation provision, until April 1, 2020. A lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas challenging the validity of the Dallas Ordinance and seeking an injunction to stay the Dallas Ordinance pending a ruling on the merits of the lawsuit. The court is currently considering whether an injunction is appropriate, but has not ruled on the issue. Therefore, the Dallas Ordinance is still in effect and there is no indication as to if (or when) the court may issue its ruling on the injunction. Accordingly, employers should be prepared to fully comply with the Dallas Ordinance prior to the April 1, 2020 deadline. Please see previous Locke Lord publications for detailed information regarding the Dallas Ordinance’s requirements and compliance with such requirements.

Similar sick leave ordinances in Austin and San Antonio have been stayed. The San Antonio ordinance was stayed on November 22, 2019 when a court granted a temporary injunction. The Austin ordinance was stayed pending review by the Texas Supreme Court. Briefing with the Texas Supreme Court was final January 7, 2020. It is unclear whether or when the stays will be lifted. Many commentators believe the Texas Supreme Court will find the Austin ordinance to be unconstitutional. Because of the stays, compliance with the Austin and San Antonio sick leave ordinances is not necessary at this time, but the status of these ordinances should be monitored by employers with operations in those cities.