Dallas Passes Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

On April 24, 2019, Dallas city council passed an ordinance requiring employers that have employees working inside the city of Dallas to provide paid sick leave as early as August 1, 2019. By doing so, Dallas became the third TX city (after Austin and San Antonio) to pass such an ordinance. The ordinance allows employees to use the leave to care for their own physical or mental illness, physical injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition, or that of the employee’s family member.

Under the ordinance, employees earn one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked and can generally use the sick leave as soon as it is earned (with some restrictions). An employer with 15 or more employees at any time in the preceding twelve month period must provide at least 64 hours of paid sick leave per year. An employer with fewer than 15 employees must provide at least 48 hours of paid sick leave per year.

Employers with employees working in the city of Dallas must provide a monthly statement showing the amount of available earned sick time to each employee and keep records to show the amount of sick time accrued by each employee. Employers also must include a notice to employees about the contents of the ordinance within their employee handbooks. Lastly, once the City of Dallas provides signage on its website, employers must display a sign about the ordinance in a conspicuous place, in English and Spanish. Civil penalties for substantial violations may be assessed up to $500 per violation.

The ordinance will take effect for employers with at least five employees on August 1, 2019. The effective date for employers with fewer than five employees is delayed until August 1, 2021. It is important to mention that earlier in April 2019, the TX state senate passed SB 2485, which would effectively ban local regulation of employee benefits, including paid leave. However, the bill was not voted on in the house and has not been signed by the governor. We will continue to monitor the progress of SB 2485 and the potential impact on the Dallas ordinance and other city paid leave laws.