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Austin Paid Sick Leave on Life Support

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Prospects of Austin’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance actually going into effect took a turn for the worse on November 16, 2018, when the Austin-based Third Court of Appeals held the ordinance is unconstitutional under Texas law. Pro-business groups originally filed suit seeking an injunction prohibiting Austin from enforcing the ordinance. The trial court denied that request, which was promptly appealed. The Third Court of Appeals agreed with the plaintiff business groups, holding the ordinance unconstitutionally sought to establish a wage in violation of Texas law. The case was remanded back to the trial court with instructions for that court to grant the requested injunctive relief against the ordinance. The court’s opinion is not the last word on the ordinance, which faces continued litigation and threats of being overturned at the state level. In fact, a bill was recently filed ahead of the upcoming Legislative session which would prohibit Texas cities from requiring employers to provide paid sick leave.

For now, though, employers with employees in Austin can hold off on implementing mandatory paid sick leave.

A copy of the Third Court of Appeals opinion can be found here.