Texas Paid Sick Leave: What This Means For Your Business

Paid Sick Leave TexasSummary
Although currently there is no Texas state-wide law that requires private employers to provide paid sick leave in Texas, the cities of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have each adopted ordinances requiring paid sick leave. Proposed legislation that would have blocked these ordinances from going into effect was introduced during the most recent Texas legislative session. However, as of this writing, no legislation has passed to ban cities from mandating paid sick leave. Because of this, employers with employees in Dallas or San Antonio (additional information regarding Austin below) should take appropriate measures to prepare for the paid sick leave laws to go into effect.

Current Status of City-Specific Laws

  • Austin was the first city in the southern U.S. to enact a paid sick leave law. However, the Austin ordinance never went into effect as it was held unconstitutional by the Third Court of Appeals. We are awaiting a final decision on the Austin ordinance from the Texas Supreme Court. This decision could affect the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances.
  • San Antonio and Dallas have passed identical city ordinances which currently face no opposition. Both ordinances are scheduled to go into effect beginning August 1, 2019 (except for employers with 5 or fewer employees, who have until August 1, 2021 due to delayed implementation).

How Much Leave is Required and for Whom is it Required?

  • The amount of leave required is determined by employer size. Employers with more than 15 employees in the city must provide 64 hours of paid sick leave annually, accrued at a rate of at least 1 hour for every 30 hours worked. Employers with 15 or fewer employees must provide 48 hours 
  • Leave must be provided to employees that work at least 80 hours per year in the city limits.

What Can Leave Be Used For?

  • Personal or family member’s illness, injury, or health condition, including preventive care.
    • Family members are defined as child, parent, spouse, or any other individual related by blood or whose close association with the employee is the equivalent of a family relationship.
  • Leave can be used if the employee or family member is a victim of stalking, domestic abuse, or sexual assault.
  • For medical reasons, to relocate, to obtain services from a victim services organization, and to participate in legal proceedings.
  • Physical or mental illnesses and physical injuries are covered by all three city ordinances, but Dallas does not specifically allow leave for mental injuries (e.g., traumatic brain injury).

Looking Ahead and Next Steps
We will continue to monitor the status of these ordinances since there is a chance that they might not go into effect. In the meantime, please contact us so that we can evaluate your current PTO policies to determine if they comply with these ordinances. In the case that your current policies meet or exceed the requirements, we can also review the additional details of the ordinances as well as the administrative requirements. If your company isn’t currently offering paid sick leave, we can assist with developing a PTO policy to ensure compliance with the law.

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