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Local Government Paid Sick Leave Updates – City of Minneapolis, Westchester County, NY and City of Dallas

An appeals court decision clarifies the applicability of the paid sick leave ordinance for the City of Minneapolis.  In New York, Westchester County released model notices and guidance applicable to its earned sick leave ordinance.  And finally, the City Council in Dallas enacts a paid sick leave ordinance.

  • Appeals Court Reverses Applicability of City of Minneapolis’ Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

The City of Minneapolis enacted a paid sick leave ordinance in 2016 that requires employers to provide sick leave to employees who work in the City of Minneapolis (see our Benefit Beat article for a summary of this ordinance).  The ordinance took effect on July 1, 2017.

Following enactment of the law, a legal challenge was initiated by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce as to the applicability of which employers had to provide the benefit.  As written, the law applies to any person or entity who employs one or more employees.  Employees entitled to leave are those working a minimum of 80 hours per calendar year within the geographic boundaries of the City.  The question then became, does the ordinance apply to all employers located within and outside of the City, or to just those located within the City boundaries.  In settling the matter, the District Court ruled that the ordinance only applies to employers who are physically located in the City’s geographical boundaries, and not to employers located extraterritorially.  The Minnesota Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s ruling and affirmed that the ordinance applies extraterritorially [Minn. Chamber of Commerce v. City of Minneapolis, No. A18-0771 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 29, 2019)].  Thus, the ordinance applies to all private sector employers, without regard to where the employer is located.

  • Updates: Westchester County’s Earned Sick Leave Law

The County of Westchester, New York enacted an earned sick leave law in October, 2018 (for a summary of this ordinance, see Westchester County - Earned Sick Leave Law, Benefit Beat, 12/3/18).  The ordinance requires employers in Westchester County to provide up to 40 hours of earned sick leave to their employees.  While the ordinance took effect on April 10, 2019, employees do not begin to accrue sick leave until July 10, 2019 (or, 90 days following the effective date of the law).

To assist both employers and employees in implementing the law, the Westchester County Human Rights Commission released a model workplace poster and notice of employee rights, as well as a set of FAQs for employers and employees on its dedicated webpage.

Applicability, rate of accrual, maximum sick leave amounts, and payment of leave benefit.  The employer FAQs make clarifications as to applicability of the law.  Generally, any person, corporation, industry, trade, business or service, including Westchester County government are subject to the law. 

The employer’s obligation to provide sick leave, the rate of accrual, the amount of leave, as well as determination of whether the leave is paid or not, is contingent upon employer size, as follows:

Number of Employees

Rate of Accrual of Sick Leave

Sick Leave Max. Sick Leave per Calendar Year

Paid or Unpaid

5 or more

One hour per 30 hours worked

Up to 40 hours

Paid

1 to 4

One hour per 30 hours worked

Up to 40 hours

Unpaid

1 or more domestic workers

Note: earned sick leave under this law is in addition to the “days of rest” covered under New York State Labor Law

One hour per 7 days worked

Up to 40 hours

Paid

 

Notification to Employees.  Employers are obligated to provide two types of notifications to employees:

  • Employers must provide the Notice of Employee Rights to current employees by July 10, 2019.  In addition, employers have an on-going obligation to provide this notice to all new hires upon commencement of employment.
  • Employers are required to display a workplace poster, in the appropriate language of its workforce (English version available here), in a conspicuous location accessible to employees.

New Paid Sick Leave Ordinance in Dallas

The City of Dallas joins Austin and San Antonio in requiring employers to provide paid sick leave benefits (for a summary of the Austin and San Antonio ordinances, see our December and September, 2018 articles). 

On April 24, 2019, the Dallas City Council enacted a paid sick leave ordinance that will require employers to provide an earned sick leave benefit for their employees.  Briefly, employees working a minimum of 80 hours a year are entitled to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked.  Accrued leave can be used for medical needs of the employee or his/her family member, or to obtain services or care as a result of domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking.  The Dallas Ordinance becomes effective on August 1, 2019.  For employers with fewer than five employees, the applicability date is delayed until August 1, 2021. 

However, whether the Dallas ordinance actually takes effect is contingent upon several pending matters.  An appeals court in Texas has already placed the City of Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance on hold (see Paid Sick Leave Changes in Texas, Benefit Beat, 9/6/18).  While the San Antonio paid sick leave ordinance is set to take effect on August 1, 2019 (see Paid Sick Leave Updates, Benefit Beat, 12/8/18), its implementation, as well as the Dallas and Austin ordinances may be blocked by legislative action.   Currently, there are two Senate bills (SB 2485 and SB 2487) and one House Bill (H. B. 222) being considered that would prohibit municipalities within the state from enacting paid sick leave laws or ordinances.  If any of these bills are enacted, they would take effect on September 1, 2019.  

Both Senate bills were heard in the Texas House on May 1, 2019.  At the time of this writing, the matter is left pending in committee.  The deadline for actions under both House and Senate rules of the Texas Legislature is May 27, 2019, which would be the last day of the legislative session.

The information contained in this article is provided as general guidance and may be affected by changes in law or regulation. This article is not intended to replace or substitute for accounting or other professional advice. Please consult a CBIZ professional. This information is provided as-is with no warranties of any kind. CBIZ shall not be liable for any damages whatsoever in connection with its use and assumes no obligation to inform the reader of any changes in laws or other factors that could affect the information contained herein.

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