On April 24, 2019, the Dallas City Council passed a paid sick leave ordinance by a vote of 10-4. This vote comes several months after a petition to get this issue on the November 2018 ballot failed when the city secretary declared there were not enough valid signatures for the issue to make the ballot.
The ordinance, which specifically exempts the City of Dallas, could eventually require all Dallas private employers to provide paid sick leave to any employee who performs at least 80 hours of work for pay within the City of Dallas in a year for an employer. The number of yearly paid sick leave hours and the effective date depends on the size of the employer. “Medium or large employers,” defined as having 15 or more employees (not including family members) at any time in the preceding 12 months, would be required to provide at least 64 hours of paid sick time per employee per year. Small employers (defined as anyone “who is not a medium or large employer”) would be required to provide at least 48 hours. The effective date for this ordinance is August 1, 2019, except for employers having not more than 5 employees at any time in the preceding 12 months. The effective date for those employers is August 1, 2021.
What should Dallas employers do in light of the passage of this ordinance? Nothing, right now. This ordinance, like the Austin paid sick leave ordinance, is likely to be challenged in the courts. The Third Court of Appeals in Austin ruled in November 2018 that Austin’s ordinance violates the Texas Constitution because the Texas Minimum Wage Act preempts it. For more information on that decision, please see our November 19, 2018 Alert. The Dallas ordinance is very similar to the one Austin passed last year. The Texas Legislature is also considering several bills that would prohibit local governments’ ability to mandate certain employment-related issues, including paid sick leave. Either the courts or the Texas legislature likely will resolve this issue before the effective date of this ordinance, and we will continue to update you as this issue unfolds in Texas.