Nearly a year ago, San Antonio became the second city in Texas to pass a new law mandating employers provide paid sick leave to employees. The ordinance was originally scheduled for implementation on August 1st, however, has now been delayed until December 1 as the City is facing a lawsuit from the State Attorney General’s Office and a coalition of local business groups; challenging the ordinance’s constitutionality.
The Paid Sick Leave ordinance pertains to all businesses inside the city limits of San Antonio with 6 or more employees be given earned paid sick time off for use if an employee needs to be absent from work due to illness or injury, medical treatment or preventative care, domestic or sexual assault, and care of a family member.
Who will this impact?
By definition, employee means an individual who performs at least eighty (80) hours of work for pay within the City of San Antonio, Texas in a year for an employer including work performed through the services of a temporary or employment agency. Employee does not mean an individual who is an independent contractor or an unpaid intern.
Paid sick time starts accruing upon commencement of employment and is available for use as soon as it is accrued. If a current company policy defers benefits until after the probationary period, they will have to modify the policy to allow the use of sick leave immediately upon accrual. The ordinance includes a non-retaliation provision, protecting employees who exercise their rights under the ordinance.
Employer means any person, company, corporation, firm, partnership, labor organization non-profit organization or association that pays an employee to perform work for an employer and exercises control over the employee’s wages hours and working conditions. Based on the 80-hour requirement, employers who currently do not offer benefits to part-time employees will have to change their policies to offer paid sick to leave to part-timers. Sick leave is accrued at a rate of one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours worked in San Antonio. It accrues in 1-hour increments. The amount of sick time paid is based on what the employee would have earned had he worked, exclusive of overtime, tips, commissions, but no less than minimum wage.
The ordinance includes a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) per violation. Each violation of a particular section or subsection of this ordinance constitutes a separate offense. Employers that already have a more generous sick leave or paid time off (PTO) policy, do not need to provide additional paid time off. However, they will need to update their policies to assure that they meet the usage and accrual requirements, that they specify valid reasons for leave, notice requirements, etc. They will also need to update their Employee Handbook to include required info, and abide by other requirements of the ordinance.
Note for employers with 1-5 employees, the law will not be implemented until August 1, 2021.
Employers with 1-15 employees = max of 48 hours of paid sick leave.
Employers with 16+ employees = max of 64 hours of paid sick leave.
Below is a list of links for employers and employees including FAQs: