San Antonio was recently added to the short list of states that require paid sick leave. Connecticut was the first state to require private sector employers to provide paid sick leave to their employees. California was the second state followed by Massachusetts as the third state requiring paid sick leave. San Antonio became the second city in Texas to pass a paid sick leave mandate recently, after an ordinance passed in Austin in February of this year. As in Austin, the San Antonio City Council was warned that a paid sick leave ordinance would also be in violation of statewide minimum wage laws. San Antonio City Councilman, Manny Pelaez, contends that this initiative won’t hold up to legal challenges.
The San Antonio paid sick leave ordinance will require all employers except government entities to provide employees with one hour of earned leave – to be used for an illness or to care for a sick family member – for every 34 hours worked. Employers will have to comply with the ordinance beginning August 1, 2019. If the business has fewer than five employees, the compliance date is August 1, 2021.
By a vote of 9-2, council members decided to plunge local government directly into the operation of private companies. They did it without knowing how many companies would be affected or what the cost would be. Mayor Nirenberg voted for the paid sick leave noting, “Doing so is the only viable solution that gives San Antonio the opportunity to move forward by responding fairly to this petition while maintaining the flexibility to craft a San Antonio-specific policy before it takes effect – if the (Texas) legislature doesn’t resolve the matter this spring.”