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What You Need To Know About Dallas’ Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Know your rights, people. And stay home if you're ill. Even if you're an hourly worker. The checks have to come.
By Shawn Shinneman |

A federal judge struck down Dallas’ paid sick leave ordinance on March 30. Which means it’s no longer enacted. Learn more here, but the below is on hold.

In August, Dallas became the third city in Texas to do two things: pass a paid sick leave ordinance and have it immediately challenged in court.

However, unlike Austin and San Antonio where implementation is delayed pending the result of those cases, Dallas’ law went into effect on August 1. It has never been more relevant than right now, as the spread of COVID-19 makes it even more important for anyone experiencing symptoms to stay home. A federal judge has not issued an injunction to stop implementation here, so you should take advantage while you can.

The ordinance can help hourly workers, in particular, who may not otherwise have sick days built into their employment. In fact, the city’s law says that you need only work 80 hours within the city of Dallas during a given year to qualify for paid sick leave.

Get educated so that you can fight for what you’re entitled to. Here’s a quick rundown of everything you should know:

• Employees earn an hour of sick leave for every 30 hours of work in Dallas. That means for every month of full-time employment, you earn about six hours of sick time. That started to accrue when the ordinance went into place on August 1—or when you became employed, if it was later.

• The cap on sick time accrual is 64 hours, or eight full days. That’s the max that medium and large companies are required to provide. At companies with 15 employees or less, the cap is 48 hours. Unused sick time carries over to the next year unless a business starts employees out each year with a lump of sick time at least the size of the city’s cap.

• You’ll be paid what you would’ve made had you not been sick, not including tips and commission. The amount must be at least minimum wage.

• As an employee, you’re of no obligation to track your own accumulated hours. Your employer should be giving you a report of your hours each month.

• An employee can request an absence for a physical or mental illness, a physical injury, preventive medical or health care, or a health condition. Or, to care for a family member. If it will be more than three days, the employer has a right to ask for verification.

• The employer does not have a right to require that you find someone to cover your shift as a condition of taking sick time.

• Finally, any demotion, suspension, reduction of hours, or other retaliation because you took sick leave is a no-no. Businesses can be fined $500 for each violation of the ordinance.

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