If you hire employees for your business, there are a number of federal and Texas laws with which you must comply. These laws involve wages, overtime, anti-discrimination, taxes, and more. One important issue that you will face is deciding how and when you will give your employees time off work. The following are some laws and legal issues to consider when making this determination.
The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) applies to private companies that have at least 50 employees, as well as all schools and public agencies. The law allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of leave per year for certain reasons, specifically:
- Childbirth or adoption of a child
- Serious health issues
- Caring for a family member with a serious health issue
While you do not have to pay employees for time off under FMLA, you are prohibited from terminating or retaliating against an employee in any way for exercising this right to take leave.
It happens – employees will get sick. No Texas or federal law requires businesses to allow job-protected sick time for employees nor requires employers to pay employees for sick time. Some states and cities in the United States have begun passing laws regarding mandatory paid sick time. In fact, one councilman has proposed such a measure in the Dallas area. For the time being, however, sick time is not required.
Many business owners choose to provide employees with sick leave as without it, turnover can increase significantly. When you do allow sick time, you want to ensure your policies are clear and consistent. Specify which employees are eligible for how much sick time. Address time periods during which certain sick days can be used and whether sick time can carry over. Any discrepancies in how you handle sick leave between employees can possibly lead to allegations of discrimination.
Approach vacation time is similarly to sick time – if you choose to provide vacation leave, have clear and consistent policies in place. Also, once you have a written policy or a vacation provision in an employment contract, the paid vacation time promised can be enforced under Texas Payday Law. If you fail to provide the paid leave promised, your employee can take legal action against your company.
You want your employees to be healthy and satisfied, so providing time off may be a preferable choice. You want to ensure that any policies are in compliance with all relevant laws and that you apply these policies fairly and in a manner that protects your business from any possible liability.
Contact a Texas Business Law Firm for Guidance Today
Hiring employees can be an exciting sign of growth but can also complicate matters substantially. You should never hesitate to seek the advice of an experienced Houston business attorney who is familiar with Texas law. The Weisblatt Law Firm can review your situation and help ensure that you are conducting your business in line with the law and can address any other legal matters you may face. Call us today at (713) 666-1981 or contact us online for more information.
Attorney Andrew Weisblatt
Mr. Weisblatt has practiced continuously since becoming licensed in 1992 and has represented businesses ranging in size from one person start-up ventures to multi-national corporations employing hundreds of people in multiple countries. From 2005 through 2009 Mr. Weisblatt was in-house counsel and chief operating officer of a multi-national corporation in the steel products industry. That in-house position provided valuable insight into how businesses work and what they actually need from their lawyers – both in-house and outside counsel.