This Thursday August 16, City Council voted 9 to 2 to pass an Earned Paid Sick Leave ordinance. The proposal was submitted by petition in May 2018. The ordinance will apply to all private/non-profit employers who employ anyone performing at least 80 hours of work within the City of San Antonio in a year, this includes businesses outside of the city doing work within San Antonio. Sick leave would be accrued at a rate of 1 hour per 30 hours worked. The ordinance proposes an effective date of August 1, 2019 for employers with more than 5 employees and August 1, 2021 for employers with no more than 5 employees at any time in the preceding 12 months. You can view the ordinance here.
I voted against this ordinance. I released the following statement in response to today's vote:
"I disagree with Council passing this ordinance today. There are too many unknowns at this time - there is no data available on what the impact to San Antonio will be. I completely empathize with employees who need time off from work to handle personal matters. I understand how difficult it can be to manage the myriad of life's issues as a working parent or caretaker. However, it is not our responsibility as a Council to dictate how private companies should handle their day-to-day business practices. This type of government interference adds another reason for businesses to look away from San Antonio when thinking about expansion or relocation.
We were warned against adopting this ordinance in a letter from the office of Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton. This letter explains that the proposed ordinance would increase wages for the workweek beyond those permitted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act. According to this letter, Texas State law preempts a municipal paid sick leave ordinance. By passing this ordinance now, we could be asking for a frivolous lawsuit against San Antonio that will cost our taxpayer's money.
Employers in San Antonio are entitled to make this decision for themselves. San Antonio is growing because we have had a functioning formula that has supported business development and employees. City Council must listen to the business community on these issues that ultimately affect their operations. We must work with businesses to come to the best conclusion for what will help their employees succeed. Without strong businesses, there will not be economic success, which impacts the quality of life in our great city."
As always, thank you for being active community members and leaders here in District 10, and do not hesitate to contact our office if we can be of any assistance to you.