Austin Paid Sick Leave ordinance ruled unconstitutional

The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals ruled today that the Austin Paid Sick Leave ordinance is unconstitutional, saying the ordinance is preempted by the state’s minimum wage law. Your Chamber joined eleven local chambers and business organizations to file an amicus brief in support of the challenge to the Austin Paid Sick Leave ordinance. At the heart of the case was whether the ordinance establishes a wage and is at odds with the Texas Minimum Wage Act, which supersedes a wage established by a local government. The case will now be remanded to the lower court for further proceedings consistent with today’s decision.

This is not only a great victory for Austin but also great news for San Antonio. In August, the San Antonio City Council passed a nearly identical ordinance, mandating small employers to provide six days (48 hours) of paid sick time per year and medium-to-large employers eight days (64 hours).  As San Antonio’s oldest and largest pro-business organization, your Chamber adamantly opposes municipally mandated pay and benefits and believes businesses should have the right to determine the benefits they offer their employees.

We have been working in collaboration with local and state organizations to educate state lawmakers on the detrimental effects the ordinance would have on the business community. Today’s ruling is a great step forward in our attempt to get the ordinance preempted in the Texas Legislature. A bill has already been filed by Rep. Matt Krause (District 93).  House Bill 2222 would prohibit a municipality from requiring an employer to provide paid sick leave.

Your Chamber will 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. Click here to see the Policy Statement on Employer Salary and Benefits passed by the Chamber’s Board of Directors earlier this year.

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