The Texas Attorney General has joined a federal lawsuit that aims to stop a newly-implemented Dallas ordinance that requires employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees.
Attorney General Ken Paxton called the policy "unlawful" in his announcement that his office has joined with ESI/Employee Solutions, LP and Hagan Law Group – two Collin County employers who filed a federal lawsuit last week – in challenging the new city requirement that became effective on August 1.
As of now, any employer who does business in Dallas must provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked to every employee who works at least 80 hours a year in the city. Employers can cap the total amount of paid sick time earned to a maximum of 6 to 8 days, depending upon the size of the company.
Two other major Texas cities have unsuccessfully attempted to implement similar policies. An appeals court struck down a paid sick leave ordinance passed by the Austin City Council last year, and last month a trial court put a San Antonio paid sick leave ordinance on hold.
"The Dallas City Council's decision to enact this ordinance in the face of other legal challenges successfully stopping similar laws is yet another example of the lawlessness and disregard for working Texans that is becoming all too common among local governments in our larger cities," Paxton noted in a Wednesday morning news release.
"Not only would this ordinance harm the ability of Texans to find and keep jobs, it is a blatant attempt to silence the millions of other voters throughout our State who disagree with the agenda of urban elites, even after the courts have made it clear they cannot do so."
At a rally in front of Dallas City Hall Wednesday morning, a small group of workers rights activists disagreed with the Attorney General's stance.
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A group of people, most of whom are directly affiliated with the Workers Defense Project, noted that as many as 300,000 people employed in the city of Dallas are currently denied access to paid sick leave.
"The decisions they're having to make are very simple – you either go to work sick, or you leave a sick family member at home because you can't take the time off," said George Rangel, President of the Dallas area AFL-CIO.
Some at the rally noted that many of the people who currently working without the ability to earn paid sick leave work in the construction, service and home healthcare industries.
The Dallas Regional Chamber, which works on behalf of hundreds of Dallas area employers, is officially opposed to the mandatory sick leave policy. A representative for the organization offered that 95% of its member agencies already offer paid sick time to their employees.
"If the core issue, the core policy, is to try to provide paid time off, many people already do that," said Priscilla Camacho, the Senior Vice President of Public Policy at the Dallas Regional Chamber.
"It's when you start doing the overreach of telling people how to disseminate [paid sick leave], how to distribute it, how to record it – all of those things require man power, they require technology, they require the business to change the way that they already do their business. And that is a fundamental problem."