Although there is no Texas state-wide law that requires paid sick leave in Texas, the cities of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have adopted paid sick and safe leave laws. Proposed legislation that would have blocked these laws from going into effect was introduced during the most recent Texas legislative session. However, as of late last week, as the regular Texas legislative session winds down, these efforts appear to be stalled, perhaps indefinitely. Options for legislative action to block the city-driven leave laws from going into effect are theoretically possible, but the practical chances of happening would require much to fall in place (e.g, passage in special session).
For now, Texas employers with employees in Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio need to be prepared for every option. With respect to the Austin ordinance, the Austin-based Third Court of Appeals has held it is unconstitutional and enjoined enforcement. That issue is currently on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court. The fate of the Austin ordinance will remain undetermined until the legal action is exhausted, the timing of which is uncertain. Meanwhile, there has yet to be a legal challenge to the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances. Both are scheduled to go into effect for most employers on August 1.
Employers with workers in San Antonio and Dallas would be well advised to watch this issue closely over the next few months and have a plan in place for compliance by August 1. The Dallas and San Antonio ordinances are modeled on the Austin ordinance, which is explained in detail here. As such, the outcome of the current litigation over the Austin ordinance may impact the future of the San Antonio and Dallas ordinances, even if they are not directly challenged through separate legal action. However, at this time, we cannot predict when that will occur.
For additional information about the status of paid sick leave laws in Texas, or other leave management issues, please contact the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work.