San Antonio Paid Sick Leave Law Halted

On November 22, 2019, a Bexar County judge blocked San Antonio’s paid sick leave ordinance from going into effect on December 1.

As background, the San Antonio ordinance covers employees who work within the city limits and those who work more than 240 hours within the city limits in a year. The size of the employer does not matter. Those covered employees accrue one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 56 hours a year. We highlighted the details of this ordinance in the September 5, 2018, edition of Compliance Corner.

Those in opposition to the ordinance argue that it would violate the Texas Minimum Wage Act, while those in favor argued that the paid leave is a benefit, not a wage, which is allowed under the federal Fair Standards Labor Act. The judge’s injunction is temporary, and the ordinance may become effective either after the litigation concludes or if the parties in favor of the ordinance successfully appeal this injunction. The judge ordered a full trial on the merits but did not set a date.

Since the ordinance is the subject of a lawsuit, it may be overturned at the district level or on appeal. In the meantime, employers with employees who would be subject to the new ordinance should consult with counsel concerning their obligations to offer leave in compliance with the ordinance.