The law in Austin, Texas allows companies with 15 or more employees to limit the accrual of paid sick leave to 64 hours per 12-month period, depending on the employee's birthday. Companies with fewer than 15 employees are limited to 48 hours per 12-month period, again depending on the employee's birthday. Employees can transfer up to 64 or 48 hours (depending on the size of the employer) to the next 12-month period. If the employer chooses to anticipate the hours, they are not required to allow the transfer. Employers can limit the annual use of paid vacation to 64 or 48 hours per employee.
Small employers (those with fewer than 16 employees) can limit sick leave to 48 hours per employee per year. Unless the Texas Legislature addresses the issue, local sick leave ordinances face an uphill battle going forward. As employers must pay 1 hour of sick leave for every hour worked, they actually pay more than the minimum wage to employees. The ordinance requires private employers of any size to offer paid sick leave to their employees, accumulated at the rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every thirty hours worked. If Austin's sick leave ordinance goes into effect, business owners will have to comply with the rules simultaneously.
Employers must remain alert to pending litigation in Dallas and San Antonio, although it appears that the sick leave ordinance will not take effect in Austin in the near future. The court ruled that it violated the Texas Constitution because the Texas Minimum Wage Act opposed it. If employers anticipate sick leave at the beginning of the year, they don't have to accumulate unused sick leave every year. This means that employers based outside of Austin will need to grant sick leave to those employees. The future of San Antonio's law is likely to depend on the results of Austin's court decision on sick leave.
Employers can only verify the use of sick leave if it covers at least 3 or more consecutive days. Employees are entitled to sick leave under the Ordinance if they perform at least 80 hours of work in a calendar year for a company covered by insurance. If an employer currently has a policy that grants employees paid time off in accordance with the new requirements, there is no need to grant additional paid vacation. Employees must be able to start using accumulated paid sick leave no later than 60 calendar days after they begin their employment. Finally, employers cannot retaliate against an employee who uses sick leave or tries to assert their rights under the law.