DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The debate over earned paid leave is about to heat up in North Texas.
State Representative Nicole Collier plans to file a bill that would let millions of Texans earn paid days off, when they need to take a day off. “Take care of their family, attend a child’s school function, or go to the doctor – something as basic as that,” says Rep. Collier.
Most workers in retail, restaurant and construction jobs are not paid if they have to take a day off.
Collier’s bill would let them earn one hour of paid time off for every 30 hours they work, up to five days each year.
“These people are making life decisions on whether or not they have to go to work or if they just go without the pay.” Collier says it wouldn’t just help the employees, but the public in general. “It’s a public health issue. If people are handling food – they have to make life choices. Do I go to work sick?”
Collier tried to pass a similar bill at the last legislative session but it died in committee. Since then she’s met with multiple business groups, health organizations and others to tweak the proposed rules and make it more likely to become law next year.
The bill would only apply to companies with at least 50 employees and would not include government agencies, non-profits and churches. Workers would have to give seven days’ notice before taking time off. Companies with 50-75 employees would have a two-year grace period to implement the new rules.
Critics say businesses don’t need more governmental interference, but Collier says paid time off would encourage employees to be more invested in their jobs while balancing life outside work.
The idea is already taking shape in several large cities in Texas.
The City of Austin recently passed its own earn paid leave ordinance, which is set to take effect in October. Large-scale petition drives were launched in Dallas and San Antonio, to put the issue on the ballot in those cities.
Collier’s bill would create uniform rules across the state.