City Council hosted a special meeting yesterday to get a first glance at the revised Paid Sick Leave ordinance. The last time the full council had reviewed the ordinance was in August of 2018 when the ordinance was adopted, and the council-appointed Paid Sick Leave Commission has been working since April to revise the ordinance to make it “enforceable”. However, there has been urgency to rework the ordinance after an agreement to extend the implementation date was accepted in civil court proceedings on July 24. As a result of the court order, the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance will be implemented on December 1, 2019 instead of August 1, 2019. The Paid Sick Leave Commission was tasked with recommending revisions to City Council for consideration within 45 days. Those proposed revisions were presented to full council yesterday for feedback and suggestions.
Danielle Hargrove, Chair of the Paid Sick Leave Commission presented the following recommendations:
- Revise the name to “sick and safe leave ordinance”
- Employers sizes removed in favor of equal applicability to all employers (‘one-size-fits-all approach’)
- Baseline hours of sick and safe leave that an employee can accrue in one year is 56 hours across the board.
- Previously was 48 hours for small employers or 64 hours for medium-to-large employers.
- No delayed implementation for employers with 5 or fewer employees.
- The word “time” was removed and replaced with “benefits” to avoid the wage aspect of the ordinance.
While there was consensus from the Mayor and Council to support the proposed revisions, they had some proposed additions:
- Lower the eligibility period applying to accrual and use of sick and leave to 90 days.
- Increase the period of time to file a complain from 60 days to one year.
- Include language to ensure the ordinance does not apply to interns or transient workers.
- Include a provision to ensure workers who receive paid sick time under collective bargaining agreements are exempt.
City staff will now work to make these changes before adoption on October 3.
Despite all the proposed changes to the ordinance, the Chamber’s position remains the same – The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce does not oppose sick leave. However, we do oppose municipally mandated employee benefits and pay. The Chamber strongly believes it is the right of private employers to determine the best and most efficient way to operate a successful business, while remaining competitive in attracting and retaining a talented workforce.
The Chamber attended all the Paid Sick Leave Commission meetings, and we have expressed to the Mayor and City Council that there is no deal to made, the issue of wages and compensation remain at the state and federal level. We have been publicly advocating against the municipally mandated paid sick leave ordinance since its inception, and we continue to advocate against it today.
The City will host two public input meetings to gather input from residents about proposed changes to the sick leave ordinance:
September 23, 2019 | 6 p.m. at TriPoint Events Center | 3233 N St Mary’s St. | San Antonio, TX 78212
September 25, 2019 | 6pm at El Progreso Hall | 1306 Guadalupe St | San Antonio, TX 78207
We encourage you to attend and express your opposition. In addition, you can also complete a survey to give your input on the ordinance.