How Does Texas Sick Leave Law Impact You in 2023? Understanding the Core Elements

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Recent changes in Texas Sick Leave Law have left both employers and employees with a plethora of questions. For years, the complex web of labor laws, employment regulations, and sick leave stipulations have evolved, each reflecting the prevailing socio-economic conditions of the times. In this article, we'll take a deep dive into the core elements of the 2023 update, the significance behind them, and how they compare with the laws of 2022 and laws of other states like Florida.

Texas Paid Leave Laws: A Brief History

Texas has seen a variety of paid and unpaid leave laws over the years. Historically, Texas, unlike states such as Maine and Rhode Island, hasn’t mandated a state minimum wage above the federal rate, leaving many aspects of employee benefit negotiations to collective bargaining agreements and local government ordinances.

Paid leave, essentially allowing workers to accrue time off with pay, has always been a topic of contention, as employer responsibilities often weigh against employee rights.

Interplay with Texas Sick Leave Law 2023

As cities like San Antonio, Dallas, and Austin attempted to pass ordinances mandating paid leave, they were often preempted by Texas law, especially decisions from the Texas Supreme Court. However, the most recent evolutions of Texas Sick Leave Law have focused more on setting standards for how leave should accrue and how accrued leave should be treated, especially for exempt employees.

Impact on Employers and Employees

For employers, especially those with fewer than 50 employees, understanding the specifics of the law is crucial. The FFCRA (Family First Coronavirus Response Act) had previously set some standards, but with its expiration, the new Sick Leave Law takes precedence. Employees, on the other hand, now have clearer guidelines on what they are entitled to regarding sick and paid leave, eliminating much of the ambiguity that existed.

Texas Sick Leave Law in 2022

The 2022 ordinance was an ambitious step towards ensuring that employees could take time off for illness without the fear of losing their wage. While it did not make family leave (akin to FMLA leave) mandatory, it set the stage for the improvements seen in 2023. The 2022 law was centered on employer responsibilities towards granting sick leaves and ensuring employee rights were upheld.

Texas PTO Laws

PTO (Paid Time Off), a composite of vacation, sick, and personal time, has always been treated differently from specific sick leaves. Texas PTO payout laws state that unused PTO is often contingent on company policy, but with the new Sick Leave Law, there's a push towards ensuring unused PTO isn’t just discarded. Employers now need a clear privacy policy in place to determine how accrual happens and how unused hours are treated, especially during a calendar year.

Comparison with Florida Sick Leave Law 2022

Florida's approach in 2022 was markedly different. While Texas was grappling with city ordinances, Florida's state law was already mandating specific sick leave parameters, more akin to federal laws. Florida emphasized situations such as domestic abuse, bereavement, and care for a family member, making their policy more comprehensive in some aspects than Texas. However, the most recent changes to Texas Sick Leave Law have bridged many of these gaps.

Addressing Top Questions

  • Does Texas have a paid family leave? No, Texas doesn't have a state-mandated paid family leave. But employees might be eligible for FMLA which provides unpaid leave for family and medical reasons.
  • What are the rules for leave of absence in Texas? Rules vary based on the size of the employer, type of leave (sick, vacation, bereavement), and other factors like labor agreements.
  • How many hours of PTO can you carry over in Texas? It depends on company policy, but recent laws are steering towards fair accrual and carryover policies.
  • Does Texas have mandatory paid leave? Not at a state level, but individual city ordinances like those in Austin and San Antonio have attempted to enact them.
  • What happens to PTO when you quit in Texas? Unused PTO payout is typically based on company policy unless otherwise specified in an employment contract.
  • Do Texas employers have to give sick days? It depends on the city and the size of the employer, but the 2023 law is pushing for more universal sick day provisions.
  • How much PTO do you get in Texas? Again, this varies by employer, but there are efforts to standardize PTO accrual.
  • What is the leave law in Florida? Florida’s law emphasizes both paid and unpaid leaves for a variety of reasons including sickness, domestic abuse, and care for a family member.
  • Do companies legally have to pay sick pay? Under certain city ordinances, yes. But on a federal level, the FFCRA had provided provisions which have since expired.
  • Does PTO expire in Texas? It's largely dependent on company policy, but there's a legal push towards ensuring unused PTO isn't lost without justification.


Navigating the complex world of sick leave, paid leave, and employment law in Texas can be daunting. But with the latest Texas Sick Leave Law, clarity is emerging for both employers and employees, ensuring a fairer workplace for all.

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