I want to follow up from Will’s weekly retirement email and provide a more detailed update on what is happening with paid sick leave in Texas, specifically Austin and San Antonio.
Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance–set to take effect October 1, 2018–is facing a legal challenge from the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF) and the Texas Attorney General. In June, a state district court judge denied TPPF’s application for a temporary injunction to prevent the ordinance from taking effect until the legality of the ordinance could be determined. TPPF appealed this decision.
While that appeal was pending review, TPPF and the Texas Attorney General each filed a motion in the Texas 3rd Court of Appeals to prevent the ordinance from going into effect (click here for TPPF’s motion, and here for the Attorney General’s). They asked that ordinance not be allowed to go into effect until the review of the district court judge’s denial of their injunction is complete. The 3rd Court of Appeals granted the stay, holding that ‘enjoining the ordinance is necessary to preserve the parties’ rights until disposition of the appeal.’ So, as of right now, Austin’s ordinance is on pause.
The 3rd Court of Appeals’ decision came exactly one day after the City of San Antonio’s City Council approved a paid sick leave ordinance, making them the second city in the state, and the south, to do so. This ordinance came to the city council because the coalition group Working Texans for Paid Sick Time collected enough signatures to have the measure placed on the November ballot. The city council then had to decide whether to approve the measure or reject it and have voters decide in November. The ordinance that the city council approved, is largely the same as Austin’s (only a few minor sections added that Austin’s does not contain).
San Antonio’s ordinance is set to go into effect August 1, 2019. But, even if the lawsuit sways in Austin’s favor, members of the Texas Legislature have vowed to introduce legislation in January that would preempt or prohibit states from enacting these types of ordinances. This could ultimately prevent Austin and San Antonio from mandating paid sick leave.
ERIC is continuing to advocate on behalf of large employers to ensure that these ordinances, and other paid sick time proposals/laws, do not burden existing policies and practices. If you have any questions or comments, please contact myself at bhum@ERIC.org or (202) 627-1917.
Article by Bryan Hum, Retirement and Compensation Policy Senior Associate