Sick Leave Laws in Texas May Be Changing- Here Is What You Need to Know

Posted by Employer Flexible on March 17, 2020
Employer Flexible

In the cities of Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas, city ordinances passed in the years 2018 and 2019 that require employers who employee employees within these cities to start providing their employees with earned paid sick time, also known as the earned paid sick time ordinance. These sick days must be provided in addition to any company vacation days that are currently provided. If an employee gets sick or has a doctors' appointment, and they miss time from work, they can lose out on money that they need to support their family. These ordinances help to ensure an employee does not lose out on money from a paycheck because they were ill. 

Who is Affected By the Earned Paid Sick Time Ordinance? 

Currently, these ordinances only apply to people who are working within the city limits of Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. This is not a statewide law or ordinance. It is also based on where you are employed, not where you reside. 

What Do the New Sick Leave Laws Require?

The new sick leave ordinances require that employers provide their employees with at least one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 64 hours from employers who have 16 or more employees or a maximum of 48 hours for employers who employee 15 or fewer employees. The ordinances state that the employee has to let their employer know with as much notice as possible prior to their shift that they will be unable to show up for work and that they wish to use their sick leave to cover their hours. Sick leave can be used to cover things ranging from illness, doctors appointment, mental health issues or personal issues. By law, the employer cannot ask the employee why they are using their sick leave or require a note if less than three days are used at once.  The ordinance also states that employers cannot encourage employees to use other types of leave, such as vacation time, in lieu of sick time if they have sick time available. 

Does the Sick Leave Carry Over From One Year to the Next? 

You may or may not be able to carry your sick leave over from one year to the next. If an employer provides you with your sick leave as you earn it, for example, you earn one hour for every 30 hours worked, then any unused leave from one year must carry over into another year, where it must be used. However, if an employer front loads the leave, such as offer 64 hours to each employee starting on January 1, then the employer can require the employee to use the leave in that year. 

When Are the Sick Leave Ordinances in Texas Supposed to Be Implemented? 

The ordinance in San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, Texas went into effect on August 1, 2019, except for small business with five or fewer employees. The new law goes into effect for these employers on August 1, 2021. While the ordinances went into effect on this date, it is important to note that they are not currently being enforced. The issue has been raised up to the Texas Supreme Court regarding the legality of the ordinances. Currently, the cities are not enforcing the law until the case is heard and a ruling is issued. There is also a lot of speculation that if the Supreme Court does find the sick leave ordinances legal, there will be a push to make this state law, rather than city specific ordinances. 

If you are operating a business in San Antonio, Dallas and Austin, Employer Flexible can help you to implement the new sick leave ordinances, ensuring your business is compliant with these ordinances. We can handle everything from keeping track of sick leave to providing employees with their sick leave balances. Call now to learn more. 





Topics: Human Resources