News

Earned Paid Sick Time Moves to the Texas Legislature

As San Antonio’s oldest and largest pro-business organization, the Chamber adamantly opposes municipally mandated pay and benefits and believes businesses should have the right to determine the benefits they offer their employees. Earlier this week, the Chamber’s Executive Committee and Board of Directors voted to approve a Policy Statement on Employer Salary and Benefits.

On Thursday, the San Antonio City Council voted 9 to 2 to pass an Earned Paid Sick Leave ordinance, making San Antonio the second city in Texas to mandate employers allow workers to accrue paid time off.

The Mayor and Councilmembers had the choice to vote on one of two options: 1.) Pass an Earned Paid Sick Leave ordinance that would go into effect next year; or 2.) Allow the issue to be put on the November 6 ballot. Neither option is good for San Antonio businesses.

Mayor Nirenberg as well as other Councilmembers expressed that an Earned Paid Sick Leave ordinance was outside of their purview and an issue deemed for the Texas Legislature.  Some state lawmakers have already come forward vowing to file legislation to preempt the ordinance come the next Legislative Session, including Senator Donna Campbell (District-25) in a letter to Mayor Nirenberg and Representative Lyle Larson (District-122) in an email to City Council the day of the vote.

The proposal to amend the city’s health code was submitted by petition in May 2018, collecting more than 144,000 signatures. The ordinance will require private/non-profit employers in San Antonio to let workers accrue one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked to use if they or a family member become sick or injured; are victims of stalking, domestic abuse or sexual assault; or otherwise require medical, mental or preventive care. The ordinance will become effective August 1, 2019 for employers with more than five employees, and August 1, 2021 for employers with no more than five employees at any time in the preceding 12 months. The ordinance does not apply to governmental entities such as the City or the school districts.

As per the City Attorney, the ordinance can be amended in six months. Mayor Nirenberg said adopting the ordinance this week gives the City more “flexibility to craft a San Antonio-specific policy.” Unless the State Legislature takes action on preempting the ordinance before then, your Chamber will work to ensure we have a seat at the table.

We are already working with state legislators to craft language that would preempt the City’s Earned Paid Sick ordinance. We remain steadfast in our advocacy efforts to defeat the Earned Paid Sick Leave policy and any other attempts to dictate how businesses should run their operations.

For more information, please contact Stephanie Reyes, Vice President of Public Policy at sreyes@sachamber.org.

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