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In a Blow to Hourly Workers, a Judge Blocks Dallas’ Sick Time Ordinance

Dallas joins San Antonio and Austin as big cities with sick leave laws they can't legally enforce.

A federal judge struck down Dallas’ paid sick leave ordinance on Monday, at least for the time being. In effect since August, the measure ensured hourly workers could take paid time off as long as they worked at least 80 hours within the city during a given year, with the amount of sick time ratcheting up incrementally from there.

Like Austin and San Antonio, Dallas was immediately sued after it passed its sick leave law last summer. But unlike those cities, Dallas had a clear path to implementation in the meantime—a judge hadn’t blocked the city from enforcing the law while the lawsuit weaved through the courts.

In issuing an injunction on Monday night, U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan blocked enforcement just two days before Dallas was set to begin penalizing businesses who weren’t in compliance. And, of course, it comes at a time when resting when you’re feeling ill has never been more important. But Jordan sees this as an issue for the Lege.

“Whether or not paid sick leave requirements should be imposed by government on private employers is an important public policy issue, made even more significant under the challenging circumstances faced by our nation at this moment,” wrote Jordan, according to the Dallas Morning News. “The state of Texas, through its constitutional structure and statutory law, has committed that public policy decision to the Texas Legislature.”

Dallas’ law caps sick time at businesses with 15 employees or less at 48 hours. If a company employs more than that, it’s 64 hours. We broke down what those rules look like in full here. For now, they’re on hold.

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