After a 9-2 City Council vote, Austin became the first city in Texas to mandate paid sick leave for non-government employers. This ordinance will require private employers to give their workers up to 64 hours of paid sick leave. Paid sick leave hours will accrue at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked. Companies with 15 or fewer employees can cap their hour allotment at 48 hours. The ordinance will go into effect on October 1, 2018. Employers with five or fewer employees, often referred to as micro-businesses, will have until October 2020 to comply.
Advocates for the ordinance, like former Texas Senator and current Austin resident Wendy Davis, believe this regulation will have a “unique impact” on women and help boost morale for all workers. Critics would like to see a paid sick leave ordinance that could offer benefits to a wider range of businesses in the community. This ordinance is part of a larger trend in the U.S. with nine states and the District of Columbia having already regulated paid sick leave, and many more cities following suit. HR professionals should stay familiar with legislative proceedings at their city and state levels.