Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act in Texas
As 2021 begins, many Texas workers may wonder what will happen if they get sick or a family member gets sick. While the population begins COVID-19 vaccinations, there is still a risk of infection and severe illness. That’s why the Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson take emergency paid sick leave laws in Texas serious.
At the moment, workers in the Allen, Plano, and Frisco, TX, areas are not entitled to mandatory paid sick leave, even if they are affected by the novel coronavirus. Let’s consider paid sick leave laws in Texas and then look at emergency paid sick leave laws passed last year as the pandemic began.
Does the State of Texas Have Paid Sick Leave?
No. As of this writing, there are no laws in the state of Texas that require a private-sector employer to provide paid or unpaid sick leave to their workers. It’s been under debate in the state for some time, especially now almost one year into the pandemic.
Texas Cities with Local Paid Sick Leave
While there is not statewide paid sick leave law, these major cities have mandatory paid sick leave for private-sector employers:
- San Antonio
While these laws are in effect, there has been some pushback from the state regarding the ability to enforce these local laws. In June 2020, the Texas Supreme Court blocked the city of Austin from enforcing its ordinance that the city council passed in 2018.
About the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA)
While the state of Texas continues to disagree about paid sick leave, there was a national paid sick leave program passed by Congress to address the economic impact of the pandemic. This law was known as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). It contains two key provisions:
- The Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA)
- The Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)
FFCRA Paid Sick Leave and Emergency Family Leave
The two provisions that comprise the FFCRA guaranteed the following in terms of paid leave for COVID-19 related issues:
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at the worker’s regular wage/salary if the individual is quarantining or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
- Two weeks (up to 80 hours) of paid sick leave at two-thirds the worker’s regular wage/salary if the individual needs to care for another individual related to COVID-19
- Up to 10 additional weeks of paid expanded family and medical leave at two-thirds the worker’s regular wage/salary
Who Was Covered by the FFCRA?
The FFCRA applied to public-sector employers as well as private-sector employers with fewer than 500 employees. Exemptions may apply to small employers with fewer than 50 employees in circumstances related to school closings and childcare availability.
Eligible workers must be employed by their employers for at least 30 days to qualify for FFCRA coverage.
FFCRA Expiration Date
The FFCRA coverage was available through December 31, 2020. As of this time, the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act have expired. Employer tax credits for FFCRA are extended through the end of March 2021 for employers who qualify.
It remains to be seen if Congress will act to provide similar emergency paid leave for employees this year.
What Does This Mean for Workers Who Need Paid Sick Leave?
Working individuals need assistance if they have to deal with the effects of COVID-19 in their household. As we head into the second year of the pandemic, we will continue to monitor statewide and nationwide sick leave laws, and fight to provide workers with the help they need.
Speak with an Employment Law Attorney
If you or a loved one has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and you want to learn about possible legal options, our law firm is here to help. We encourage you to contact a trusted employment law attorney online or call the Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson at (214) 383-3606.