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Austin Passes Ordinance Forcing Paid Sick Leave

Austin Passes Ordinance Forcing Paid Sick Leave

By    |   Friday, 16 February 2018 09:09 AM

Austin City Council passed an ordinance early Friday forcing non-government companies in Texas's capital to offer sick leave to employees, making it the first in the state to mandate the time off, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

Most of the 200 people who testified at city hall favored the measure, which passed on a 9-2 vote, the newspaper said.

KUT Public Radio reported that small-business owners and organizations that represent business interests voiced opposition to the legislation, pointing to its uncertain financial impact and questioned whether sick leave was actually an issue with employees.

Tom Kenney, owner of Napa Flats, argued that his restaurant hires entry-level high school and college students and the ordinance gives no room for companies that voluntarily accommodate workers, according to KVUE-TV.

"If you call in sick, you have a test, you have a reason you can't work on Tuesday. We can allow you to make up a shift on another day, so you have no lost income. So why is there no accommodation in this ordinance?" Kenney said.

But city council member Greg Casar, who championed the legislation, said the ordinance was about equality in the workplace, KUT reported.

"We have structures in place that say ... who lives and who dies, who has health care and who doesn't have health care," Casar said, per KUT. This has all been about organizing people around reducing that inequality. By passing this ordinance, if somebody works for a company and somebody else works for another company, there isn't some people with paid sick days and some people without."

All private employers in the city will be required to offer up to 64 hours of paid sick leave when the law goes into effect in October, the American-Statement reported. So-called micro-businesses, those with five or fewer employees, will not have to offer sick leave until October 2020.

Council member Alison Alter's amendment to exempt all nonprofit employers until October 2019 did not pass, the newspaper said. Employees will accrue paid sick leave at the rate of one hour per 30 worked, the American-Statesman reported.

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An ordinance forcing non-government companies in Austin to offer sick leave to employees passed in the city council early Friday, making it the first in the state to mandate the paid time off.
austin, ordinance, paid, sick, leave
Friday, 16 February 2018 09:09 AM
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