Implementation of San Antonio paid sick leave requirement delayed amid court fight

Texas Tribune Blue Government News

San Antonio City Hall in June 2017.
San Antonio City Hall in June 2017.
Brandon Formby/The Texas Tribune

A district judge on Wednesday signed off on a deal to delay the implementation of a paid sick leave ordinance slated to go into effect Aug. 1 — dealing yet another blow to community organizers who have championed the rule in some of Texas’ biggest cities.

The decision comes after city officials and the business groups suing over the policy agreed on Friday to postpone the ordinance’s implementation from August until December. A spokesman for the city argued the delay would give San Antonio a chance to refine the proposal.

The ordinance — versions of which have been approved in San Antonio, Austin and Dallas — requires businesses with more than 15 employees to allow workers to accrue 64 hours of paid sick leave per year. For employers with fewer than 15 workers, the amount would be capped at 48 hours.

While those spearheading the proposals have touted the ordinances as beneficial to workers and public health, some business leaders have argued that they violate the Texas Minimum Wage Act, which business groups claim “explicitly prevents localities from requiring private employers to pay more” than minimum wage.

The delay in San Antonio is not entirely surprising. Austin’s ordinance is on hold after an appeals court deemed it unconstitutional in 2018. The city has asked the Texas Supreme Court to hear the case.

Republican leaders and business groups have long vowed to fight sick leave proposals, though a bill in the Legislature that would’ve overturned such ordinances died after it became ensnared in a fight over protections for LGBTQ workers.

A sick leave ordinance passed in Dallas earlier is set to take effect next month.