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City of Dallas will start enforcing its new paid sick leave ordinance

City of Dallas will start enforcing its new paid sick leave ordinance

Female doctor and patient checking blood pressure
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UPDATE 3-31-2020: Federal judge Sean D. Jordan has blocked the city of Dallas' paid sick time law. A lawsuit was filed by two Collin County small business owners: ESI/Employee Solutions LP and Hagan Law Group LLC. Texas attorney general Ken Paxton also chimed in as a plaintiff against the city of Dallas. Judge Jordan is based on Sherman; he was appointed by President Donald Trump in 2019. Employee Solutions was co-founded by David Bristol, who lives in Prosper. Hagan Law Group is the firm of John Peter Hagan and is located in Allen.

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Dallas is about to start enforcing an ordinance in which workers will get paid if they're sick.

The city adopted an ordinance in August 2019 called the Earned Paid Sick Time (Paid Sick Leave) Ordinance, which requires businesses to offer their employees paid sick leave. That includes not only full-time employees, but also part-time and even temporary.

The ordinance went into effect in August for for employers with six or more employees. It'll kick in for employers with five or fewer employees in August 2021.

It says that employers in Dallas city limits must provide paid sick time for employees who work at least 80 hours of compensable work within the last 12 months.

Earned paid sick time is paid time off work for:

  • An employee's physical or mental illness, physical injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition.
  • An employee's need to care for a family member's physical or mental illness, physical injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition.
  • An employee's or family member's need to seek medical attention, seek relocation, obtain services of victim services organization, participate in legal or court-ordered action related to an incident of victimization from domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking.

Employees earn 1 hour of earned paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. For 48 hours for employers with 15 or fewer employees, it's capped at 48 hours. and 64 hours for employers with 16 or more employees.

Lee Daugherty, who owns a bar called Alexandre's, and who was active in advocating the ordinance, says it's a godsend for workers who are frequently most vulnerable.

"Fields like the service industry have had no benefits, and they're seem to be the ones who get sick first," he says. "But anyone who works in Dallas has it, even if you live in Richardson. It began April 1, so at this point, everyone should have at least 5-6 days accrued."

The ordinance also contains anti-retaliatory measures: An employer can't transfer, demote, discharge, suspend, reduce hours, or threaten actions against an employee who has used paid sick time.

The ordinance drew a lawsuit from the Texas Public Policy Foundation, which claimed that it "extends regulatory power outside of its city limits."

The City of Dallas has created employer posters, information sessions, rules and regulations, FAQs, and an employer checklist online at www.dallascityhall.com/paid-sick-leave.

For additional information, or to file a complaint, email paidsickleave@dallascityhall.com or call 214-670-FAIR (3247).