Austin is Sick of This

This post was written by Economic Opportunity Intern Anna Crockett.

No one should have to choose between their health – or their family’s health – and keeping their job. Unfortunately, this impossible choice is a reality for the estimated 37 percent of Austin workers without paid sick days. That’s why the proposed citywide paid sick days ordinance that the Austin City Council is considering could provide an urgently needed boost for the health and financial security of working families in the city.

If Austin guarantees this basic standard to all workers, the city would be joining 41 cities, counties, and states around the country in raising the bar for public health and economic opportunity. The proposed ordinance reflects not only the lessons learned from across the country but also the input of hundreds of Austin community members who participated in the City’s stakeholder process last fall.

Highlights of the proposed ordinance:

  • Workers would earn enough time to recover and care for their families without falling behind on their bills or losing their job. Under the proposed new policy, workers will earn up to eight days of paid sick time over a year, with workers accruing one hour of sick time for every 30 hours worked.
  • Austin families need flexibility. The policy guarantees employees can care for themselves, a family member, or anyone that is seen as the equivalent of a family member to deal with an illness or a domestic violence incident.
  • Everybody gets sick. The policy allows all workers, including seasonal, temporary, and part- and full-time employees who work at least 80 hours over the course of a year in the City of Austin to earn paid sick days.

Join CPPP and Work Strong Austin for a community briefing to learn more with Council Member Greg Casar, Austin workers, business leaders, advocates, and health care professionals:

Austin Paid Sick Days Community Briefing
Wednesday, January 24, 2018
6:00 – 7:00 pm
Carver Branch of the Austin Public Library
1161 Angelina Street
Austin, Texas 78702

With less than a month before the City Council votes on the measure, now is the time to let your Austin City Council Member know that all workers, across background, wage level, and occupation, should have access to earned sick days. Check out our latest fact sheet on the proposed ordinance here.

CPPP is a member of Work Strong Austin, a coalition of community organizations dedicated to improving the lives of working families in Austin. Follow Work Strong Austin on Facebook and Twitter for updates and to get involved!

Laura Rosen joined the Center for Public Policy Priorities in 2010. She is a policy analyst and the coordinator of OpportunityTexas, a joint initiative of RAISE Texas and CPPP to expand household savings in Texas. Laura completed her Master of Public Policy from the University of Michigan in 2010 and received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. Before returning to graduate school, Laura worked as a relationship manager at Wells Fargo and was a Fulbright Scholar in Peru, where she researched microfinance. Laura also serves on the Texas Financial Education Endowment’s Grant Advisory Committee.

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