Paid Sick Leave: What could it mean for Dallas?

deontae-wherryEarned Paid Sick Leave

In 2019, the City of Dallas joined our other Texas cities when it passed the Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance. This ordinance requires employers to provide up to 64 hours of paid sick leave. While courts have restricted the enforcement of similar ordinances around the state, beginning April 1, 2020, the City of Dallas will begin enforcing this ordinance to ensure that employers are providing paid sick leave to employees. It is our hope that courts do not eventually restrict the City of Dallas from enforcing this ordinance to protect employees.

Who is protected under Dallas’ Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance?

Any employee who performs at least 80 hours annually within the city limits of Dallas. This ordinance defines employee very broadly to include part-time, temporary, seasonal, hourly, full-time, and salary workers. Employers are not required to provide independent contractors paid sick leave. However, an employer cannot label an employee as an independent contractor to avoid providing sick leave. If you believe your employer is labeling you as an independent contractor to avoid providing sick leave, you should contact our office immediately to meet with an experienced attorney.

What is considered sick leave?

An employee can use sick leave for his/her own physical or mental illness, physical injury, preventative medical or health care, or health condition. An employee may also use sick leave to care for family members with a physical or mental illness, physical injury, or health condition. In addition to common uses of sick leave, an employee may use sick leave to participate or seek medical attention related to domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking involving the employee or employee’s family member.

Can my employer fire me because I used paid sick leave?

No. As with many employment laws, the Earned Paid Sick Leave Ordinance prohibits employers from firing employees who use paid sick leave. Additionally, an employer may not transfer, demote, suspend, or threaten such actions against an employee who request or use paid sick leave, or reports or attempts to report a violation of the paid sick leave ordinance. If an employer retaliates against an employee, an employee can file a complaint up to years after the violation.

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