Employers in Austin, Texas are limited to providing their employees with a maximum of 8 days or 64 hours of sick leave each year. This means that if an employee accumulates more than this amount of sick leave over several years, they may be restricted from using it all in one year. However, employers are only allowed to prohibit new employees from using sick leave if their minimum period of employment is 1 year or more. The Austin Sick Leave Ordinance requires employers to record time spent with exempt employees for the purpose of accumulating sick leave.
Business owners must comply with the rules if the ordinance goes into effect, and a “wait and see” approach could lead to morale issues among employees who want paid sick leave. Employers with a workforce in multiple jurisdictions must review and determine if their existing policies comply with the various paid leave laws. By becoming the first city in the South to pass a paid sick leave law, Austin joins other cities across the country that have already implemented such an ordinance. Employers must provide employees with documentation about the amount of sick leave they have accumulated and used.
This trend is spreading from coast to coast, so employers with employees in Austin don't have to make any changes to their current sick leave policy or create a new one. The future of San Antonio's law is likely to depend on the results of Austin's court decision on sick leave. Opponents of Austin's ordinance believe state law is being violated for three main reasons. Employers are not required to grant an employee more than the applicable annual limit of sick leave (e.g., currently, more than 40 jurisdictions have passed such laws), and federal contractors are required to grant paid sick leave in accordance with federal executive order 12988.