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Austin Passes Paid Sick Leave Law

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Austin, Texas prides itself on being the Live Music Capital of the World.  Companies with employees in Austin should take note that Austin has a new distinction – the first city in Texas to mandate private employers offer paid sick leave to employees employed within the city limits.  On February 15, 2018, the Austin City Council passed an ordinance requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who work at least 80 hours in Austin in a calendar year.  Employees accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 64 hours annually (or 48 hours annually for companies with 15 or fewer employees).  Those hours carry over to the following year unless employers frontload leave at the beginning of the year.  Generally speaking, paid sick leave can be used for an employee’s own physical or mental illness or injury, preventative medical or health care, or those of a family member.  The new ordinance becomes effective on October 1, 2018, for most employers.  “Micro-businesses,” those with five or fewer employees, are subject to the new law on October 1, 2020.

The ordinance has already drawn the ire of several Texas state representatives who expressed opposition to it, and have stated they plan to introduce legislation aimed at overturning the ordinance when the Legislature convenes in January 2019.

A copy of the ordinance approved by the Austin City Council can be found here.