Employers in three major cities in the Lone Star State should begin preparing for compliance with paid sick leave ordinances. Joining a number of other states and cities to have enacted paid sick leave laws, the cities of San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas passed ordinances requiring private employers to provide employees with paid sick leave. While the Austin ordinance has been blocked due to litigation regarding its constitutionality, which is now before the Texas Supreme Court, the San Antonio and Dallas ordinances are set to go into effect on August 1, 2019 (except as to employers with five or fewer employees in the preceding year, for which paid sick leave obligations will not go into effect until August 1, 2021).

The paid sick leave ordinances – which largely mirror each other – require all private employers to provide employees who perform at least 80 hours of work per year in the applicable city with one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked. Employees working for employers with 15 or more employees may accrue a maximum of 64 hours of paid sick leave annually. Employees who work for employers with fewer than 15 employees at all times during the preceding 12 months may accrue a maximum of 48 hours. Employees may carry over accrued, unused paid sick leave up to the maximum except where the employer makes sick leave equal to the maximum amount available to employees at the beginning of the year.

Employees may use paid sick leave for absences due to the employee’s or the employee’s family member’s (1) illness, injury, or need for medical or health care, including preventative care; and (2) need to seek medical attention or relocation, or to obtain services from a victim services organization, or to participate in legal proceedings related to an incident of victimization from stalking, domestic abuse, or sexual assault.

Employers with operations in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas should watch for continuing developments regarding paid sick leave ordinances. In particular, employers should carefully watch for the Texas Supreme Court’s decision regarding the constitutionality of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance. Given the similarities among the ordinances, the Texas Supreme Court’s decision on the Austin ordinance may impact the San Antonio and Dallas ordinances.

In the meantime, with the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances set to go into effect in less than two months, employers in those cities should consult with experienced legal counsel to put a plan in place for compliance.