Texas Employers: Paid Sick Leave Battle is Over…For Now.
A few months ago, we reported on Austin and San Antonio’s proposed paid sick leave laws, and the legal challenges facing Austin’s law.
Now, Austin’s law, which would have taken effect on October 1, 2018, has been struck down by a state court of appeals. After months of backlash from the community, the court stated that Austin’s sick leave ordinance violated the Texas Constitution by trying to supersede the Texas Minimum Wage Act.
Austin’s law would have required small employers to offer up to six days of paid sick leave, and larger employers to offer up to eight days of paid sick leave.
Opponents of the law argued that paid sick leave essentially increased minimum wage, because payment for out of office time (i.e. time off for sick days) essentially results in receiving more total cash for in office time.
Supporters of paid sick leave have vowed to appeal the decision, but because any appeal process would take several more months, Austin employers are off the hook until further notice.
On the heels of Austin’s law was San Antonio’s sick leave law, which was slated to take effect August 1, 2019. What does Austin’s outcome mean for their friend to the south? It’s hard to say.
While there’s no current challenge to San Antonio’s law, business groups in the city have stated that they plan to put up a fight. There’s a good chance San Antonio’s law will succumb to the same fate as Austin’s. However, any challenge to the law would be coming up through a different trial court, so a different outcome, while not likely, is still possible.
For the time being, employers can breathe a sigh of relief regarding paid sick leave obligations. While it’s OK to exhale, it’s not quite time to close the book on potential changes in the future. Stay tuned for more updates from CEDR.