Ordinance 31181 – Dallas Businesses Must Provide Employees Paid Sick Pay

The city of Dallas has passed ordinance 31181 on April 24th, 2019 to improve the health, safety, and welfare of employees who work and reside in the city of Dallas. This additional ordinance focuses on “Earned Paid Sick Time” which requires local employers to establish and implement a written paid sick time policy within their employee handbooks.  This added requirement allows employees to take leave for work to take care of themselves or a “close family member”. Furthermore, employees have more flexibility to deal with personal or family issues resulting from illness, injury, healthcare, domestic abuse, or sexual assault.

It has been cited that the lack of earned paid time off is a detriment of local employees, contributing to higher turnover, higher rates of unemployment which harms our local business ecosystem. The city of Dallas has decided to enforce a local sick pay policy since a lack of intervention would further contribute to a decline in public health and safety. In short, the City of Dallas is a “home-rule municipality” it has the power to address matters of public safety.



Key Guidelines of Dallas Ordinance No. 31181

  • Businesses in Dallas are required to provide 1 hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours an employee works.
  • Employees Covered: Any employee that has worked at least 80 hours a year within the city of Dallas. Paid Interns or apprentices, Full & Part-time employees are included in the ordinance.
  • This ordinance does not cover independent contractors. If you are unsure of the proper classification of your employee. Consult the IRS website to help determine if an employee is a Contractor vs Employee and familiarize yourself with differences by reading w-2 vs 1099 employees, what’s the difference?
  • Temporary Staffing and Employment Agencies need to also comply with the ordinance.
  • Employers can only request a doctor’s note or verification from the employees if they request leave for 4 or more consecutive days of work.
  • Managers can only restrict paid sick leave the first 60 days of employment if the employer has established the employee’s tenure will last 365 days.
  • Business owners cannot require employees to be liable for finding a replacement during leave
  • Rehired employees are eligible to use their previously accrued sick pay hours (if rehired within six months).
  • Employees must receive sick pay benefit statements (monthly)

When Does Ordinance 31181 Go Into Effect?

Record-Keeping Requirements For Dallas Sick Leave Ordinance

  • Post the English and Spanish signs where employees can see them
  • At least once a month, an employer must provide each employee with a written statement (electronic or on paper) with the employee’s available earned paid sick leave
  • Employers are required to keep records relating to each employee’s use of paid sick leave for at least 3years
  •  Paid sick leave policy must be included in the companies employee handbook  

Fines for non-compliance

Businesses can face up to a $500 fine if the city’s Office of Equity and Human Rights finds a violation. The city will start issuing citations for violators on April 1st, 2020. Consequently, if employers retaliate against employee (s) for taking sick leave penalties can be imposed prior to the aforementioned date due. Hence, the anti-retaliation provisions under Section 20-8 of ordinance 31181 is an immediately active component of the new ordinance

Understanding The Dallas Sick Leave Ordinance

  • If you don’t already have an employee handbook, connect with a legal professional or a Human Resource Consultant.
  • If you have an existing handbook, make sure your HR department has implemented a compliant sick pay policy and has posted new notices that are accessible to the employees.
  • Payroll companies such as ours can easily implement the Paid time off Accrual and Sick time accrual system as a regular function of the software at no additional cost.
  • An easy way to keep compliant with the 3-year record-keeping requirement is to use an electronic system to track used and accrued hours.  
  • So then, if your current payroll software does not feature a way to track 1 hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours of work, you may want to consider HR and Payroll services familiar with local legislation.
  • Your payroll processing method should deliver earned sick pay reports to employees on a monthly basis to remain in compliance. 

Additional Legislation on Sick Leave Ordinance Across the United States 

In almost complete unison, 3 out of the 4 largest cities in Texas (Dallas, Autin, San Antonio) have enacted sick leave ordinances to provide millions of employees more flexibility to handle health issues, ultimately aiming to improve employee wellness and self-care. On the horizon, business owners across the country should expect to see similar regulations like ordinance 31181 to expand beyond the lone star state. Take a look at the most recent cities implementing legislative changes in the United States.


Website Resources For Sick Leave Ordinances Nationwide 

-Austin Sick Time Ordinance

-Dallas Sick Leave Ordinance

-San Antonio Sick Leave Ordinance

-Chicago Sick Leave Ordinance 

-San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance 

-Minneapolis Sick Leave Ordinance 

-Seattle Paid Sick Leave Ordinance 


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