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Is Paid Sick Leave a Texas Thing?

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San Antonio followed Austin as the second city in Texas to mandate private employers offer paid sick leave to employees employed within the city limits.  The San Antonio City Council passed an ordinance on August 16, 2018 requiring private employers to provide paid sick leave to employees who work at least 80 hours in San Antonio in a calendar year.  The San Antonio ordinance largely mirrors Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance.  Employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave 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 San Antonio ordinance becomes effective on August 1, 2019 for most employers.

The fate of both the Austin and San Antonio ordinances is very much up in the air.  The Austin ordinance is already entangled in court challenges and the San Antonio ordinance is expected to face litigation almost immediately.  In addition, the Texas Legislature is expected to consider legislation preempting municipal paid sick leave ordinances like those of Austin and San Antonio when it next convenes in January 2019.

A draft copy of the ordinance approved by the San Antonio City Council can be found here.