San Antonio’s Paid Sick Leave ordinance undergoing changes

San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance was supposed to have been implemented on August 1. But Bexar County District Judge Sol Casseb approved an agreement between the City Attorney’s office and a business coalition to delay the ordinance’s by four months. The coalition had filed a lawsuit to stop the ordinance.

The coalition’s lawsuit against San Antonio was joined by the State Attorney General’s Office, which stated that the law is unconstitutional and that it violates the state’s Minimum Wage Act.

In their first meeting since the delay was granted, members of the Paid Sick Time Leave Commission acknowledge that members of the public are confused about where things stand now with the ordinance.

The City Council passed the measure a year ago, requiring San Antonio businesses to give employees an hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked. Yearly sick time totals are to be capped at 48 (six days) for small businesses and 64 hours (eight days) for employers with more than 15 workers.

Ordinance enforcement was slated to begin in April of next year.

The commission is now working under a timeline to deliver recommendations for changes to the measure by the end of this month.

Commission Chairwoman Danielle Hargrove said, “That’s our aggressive schedule that we’re giving ourselves right now. Things could happen and that would change it, but that’s our priority right now.”

After the recommendations are submitted, the City Council will decide on which, if any, will be accepted.

Hargrove said officials are also keeping a watch on legal challenges to similar laws in Austin and Dallas. A state appeals court last year declared Austin’s paid sick leave law unconstitutional; a decision under review by the Texas Supreme Court.

A conservative think tank recently filed a federal lawsuit to block the Dallas ordinance.

It makes sense for city governments to regularly discuss the implementation of new laws and regulations with attorneys experienced in helping clients avoid delays and litigation.