Group Threatens To Sue Dallas Over Sick Leave Policy | KERA News

Group Threatens To Sue Dallas Over Sick Leave Policy

Jul 24, 2019

Days before Dallas' paid sick leave policy takes effect, a conservative organization said it will sue the city if it doesn't delay implementation. 

Earlier this year, Dallas City Council approved a policy that would provide one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours on the job. Businesses with fewer than 15 employees would get an extra 2 years to comply. The April 24 vote passed 10-4. The policy is scheduled to take effect Aug. 1.

The Texas Public Policy Foundation has already successfully sued Austin for a similar policy, while San Antonio's sick leave ordinance was just delayed by a judge.

Council member Omar Narvaez was a passionate supporter for passage. He rejected a delay, saying he used to have to work every day, even when sick.

"You have to get a check in order to pay your car bill, you have to get a check just so you can eat," Narvaez said. "So to sit and say we need to delay when we know that most of the people that this would impact are people of color ... I can’t stand for that."

Dallas council member Lee Kleinman voted against the ordinance. He said it was rushed, hadn’t been vetted by staff, and could prompt small businesses to either stay away or leave Dallas because of its cost. 

"We’re in the role of picking up your trash and providing public safety and giving citizens clean water. That’s our role. And that’s what the charter says we do. It’s not about setting employment policy. That’s what the feds and state do," Kleinman said.

The Austin-based Texas Public Policy Foundation argues that city-imposed sick leave policies are illegal because they violate state law. It reportedly gave Dallas until Tuesday to delay the ordinance until December, like San Antonio, otherwise it would sue.

KERA asked the city of Dallas for a copy of the letter from the foundation and requested comment from the organization itself, but did not hear back.