The City of Austin has become the first city in Texas to require private employers to provide paid sick leave to full time and part-time employees. By enacting a City Ordinance on February 16, 2018, Austin now requires most private sector employers to provide each worker up to 64 hours, or 8, eight-hour work days, of paid sick leave per year. Businesses with 15 or fewer employees benefit from a lower cap of 48 hours of paid sick leave per year. Sick leave is accrued at the rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked.
You may say, so what, that is Austin. My business is not located in Austin, so the Ordinance does not apply to me. However, the location of your business is not the sole determining factor in whether the Ordinance applies to your business. If you have any employees, full-time or part-time, who work in Austin more than 80 hours per calendar year, the Ordinance applies to you and each employee working in Austin more than 80 hours per year will be entitled to paid leave.
Other key provisions of the Ordinance include:
- Existing sick leave or PTO policies may satisfy the Ordinance so long as they provide benefits that are as generous as those provided in the Ordinance;
- Employers are required to post notice of the sick leave accrual program; and
- Retaliation against employees exercising their rights under the Ordinance is prohibited. program.
Because of this recently enacted Ordinance, which will take effect on October 1, 2018, any company with employees working more than 80 hours per year in Austin should seek counsel to ensure their current sick and PTO policies and practices fully comply with the new requirements.