United States: Paid Sick Leave In Texas Survives The Texas Legislature

Seyfarth Synopsis: Employers in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio expected the Texas Legislature to overturn their cities' recent foray into city-specific paid sick leave laws. However, the Texas Legislature recently wrapped-up its legislative session without passing a law curtailing city-specific paid sick leave laws—and the Legislature will not meet again until 2021. In the meantime, Dallas' and San Antonio's paid sick leave laws are scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2019. (Austin's ordinance is stayed pending an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.) As a result, unless the Texas Supreme Court rules that the laws are unconstitutional, employers in Dallas and San Antonio should begin preparing to comply with the paid sick leave requirements.

In recent years, many cities and other municipalities have enacted their own paid sick leave requirements. These laws require employers in those jurisdictions to provide mandatory paid sick leave to their employees, and to provide their employees with specific paid time off throughout the year.

Although the majority of cities to pass such legislation are on either the Atlantic or Pacific coasts, Texas enjoys its share of city-specific paid sick leave requirements. Specifically, Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have all recently passed paid sick leave laws. And while Austin's ordinance has been stayed by the court system, Dallas' and San Antonio's ordnances are scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2019. Furthermore, the relief that many employers expected from the Texas Legislature failed to materialize. Accordingly, employers in Dallas and San Antonio should begin preparing for compliance.

History of Paid Sick Leave in Texas

In February 2018, the City of Austin passed Texas' first mandatory paid sick leave law. Austin's paid sick leave law was scheduled to go into effect on October 1, 2018, but the ordinance was challenged in court by business groups and the State of Texas. The Austin Court of Appeals stayed the October implementation date, and in November 2018, the Court stayed the entire ordinance, finding that it conflicted with the Texas Minimum Wage Act and, accordingly, was unconstitutional under Texas law. (The Texas Constitution prohibits city ordinances from conflicting with the general laws of the State of Texas.) In March, the City of Austin filed a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court, which has not yet decided whether it will take the case. In the meantime, Austin's paid sick leave law is not in effect.

In August 2018, while Austin's law was being challenged, San Antonio passed its own mandatory paid sick leave ordinance. Several months later, Dallas joined San Antonio and Austin, passing its mandatory paid sick leave ordinance in April. Both the Dallas and San Antonio laws are scheduled to go into effect on August 1, 2019. Neither have yet been challenged in court, but the same arguments lodged against the Austin ordinance likely apply equally to the Dallas and San Antonio statutes.

Until recently, Texas employers believed that the Texas Legislature would pass legislation blocking local jurisdictions from passing their own paid sick leave measures—and most commentators believed the Legislature would overturn the Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio laws. Several such bills were introduced during the most recent legislature session, and the bills enjoyed strong support from Governor Abbott and many business organizations. However, despite passing in the Senate, the bills died in the House and were not enacted into law. As a result, Texas cities—including Dallas and San Antonio—are free to pass their own city-specific paid sick leave laws. And because the Texas Legislature will not reconvene until January 2021, employers must begin preparing for paid sick leave laws in the Lone Star State.

Paid Sick Leave Requirements in Dallas and San Antonio

Both the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances are substantially similar. Both laws require employers to provide employees with mandatory paid sick leave and both permit employees to accrue paid sick leave throughout the year, as follows:

  • Definition of Employer. Any person, company, corporation, firm, partnership, labor organization, non-profit organization, or association that pays an employee to perform work for an employer and exercises control over the employee's wages, hours, and working conditions.
  • Definition of Employee. An individual who performs at least 80 hours of work in either Dallas or San Antonio in a year for an employer.
  • Accrual Rate and Cap. Employees accrue one hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked, up to 64 hours of earned paid sick time per year for most employers (or 48 hours per year for smaller employers).
  • Employees may carry over all available earned paid sick time up to the applicable yearly cap. However, employers who frontload the earned paid sick time (i.e., provide either 64 or 48 hours at the beginning of the year) are not required to permit year-end carryover.
  • Usage Cap. Employees may take up to 8 days of paid sick leave per year (assuming they have accrued that much).
  • Reasons for Use. Employees may take paid sick time for the following reasons: (1) the employee's physical or mental illness, physical injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition; (2) the employee's need to care for their family member's physical or mental illness, physical injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition; and (3) certain safe time reasons relating to the employee's or their family members' status as a victim of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

Next Steps

As mentioned, both the Dallas and San Antonio paid sick leave ordinances go into effect on August 1, 2019. (The Austin ordinance remains stayed pending appeal to the Texas Supreme Court.) As a result, employers in Dallas and San Antonio should began taking steps to comply with their cities' requirements, including:

  • Review existing sick leave policies (or implement new policies) to ensure that policies satisfy the Dallas or San Antonio ordinances.
  • Review policies on attendance, anti-retaliation, conduct, and discipline for compliance with the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances.
  • Provide training to managers and supervisors, to ensure that the management team is up-to-date on the new requirements and knows how to handle employee requests for paid sick leave.
  • Continue to monitor legal developments involving the Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin ordinances. It is possible that the laws may be delayed or even overturned via court order. Or that a court will reinstate the Austin ordinance.

Paid sick leave laws will continue to proliferate across the country. And because the Texas Legislature failed to pass any legislation dealing with city-specific paid sick leave laws, the paid sick leave trend will continue to proliferate in Texas as well—unless our Supreme Court rules that such laws violate Texas law. Accordingly, Texas employers must continue to monitor the legal developments and be prepared to comply as the laws go into effect.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions