Paid Sick Days in Texas

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Texas businesses

All workers should be able to provide for themselves and their families and should be given the opportunity to remain healthy and productive. By improving the productivity, health, and financial security of workers, paid sick days benefit businesses, working families, and our communities. Unfortunately, an estimated 4.3 million Texas workers – or 40 percent of the total workforce – lack access to paid sick days. Lack of access to paid sick days and access to all of these benefits disproportionately hurts low-wage, Hispanic, and part-time workers the most.

Paid sick days (also known as paid sick leave, earned sick time, earned sick leave, and paid sick time) refers to time off, usually accrued based on the number of hours worked, that an employee can use to care for their own or a family member’s health and safety needs, including time to seek care or services for a domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking incident. Across the country, a growing number of cities, counties, and states have passed paid sick days policies to ensure that all workers can earn paid sick days. Over 40 cities, counties, states, and Washington, D.C. have successfully passed paid sick days policies that have benefited workers and businesses alike.

Read more here about how businesses benefit from paid sick days.

Two Texas cities passed citywide paid sick days policies in 2018: The Austin city council passed an ordinance in February, and the San Antonio council voted in favor of a similar ordinance in August.

Austin’s Paid Sick Days Ordinance:

  • Austin’s ordinance covers private sector workers, including full-time, part-time, and temporary employees who performs at least 80 hours of work within Austin city limits in a calendar year. The ordinance does not cover government employees, or non-employees like unpaid interns or independent contractors.
  • People who work for companies with more than 15 employees will be able to earn up to eight paid sick days (64 hours) per year, and people working for an employer with 15 or fewer employees will be able to earn up to six paid sick days (48 hours) per year.
  • All workers will be able to use accrued paid sick time to care for themselves, a family member, or anyone that is seen as the equivalent of a family member to deal with a physical or mental health issue (including preventative care) or a domestic abuse, sexual assault, or stalking incident.

Austin’s ordinance is intended to go into effect October 1, 2018 for most businesses, though very small businesses of five employees or less have until October 1, 2020. However, the Texas Public Policy Foundation has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Texas Association of Business, National Federation of Independent Businesses, and other plaintiffs to block the ordinance on the grounds that it violates the state’s minimum wage law. The Texas 3rd Court of Appeals has temporarily blocked implementation of the ordinance while the lawsuit moves forward, but has not yet ruled on the merits of the case.

Learn More:

 San Antonio’s Paid Sick Days Ordinance:

  • San Antonio’s paid sick days ordinance contains similar provisions as Austin’s ordinance.
  • Most businesses would need to begin allowing their employees to use accrued paid sick time on August 1, 2019. Very small businesses of five employees or less would not need to comply with the ordinance until August 1, 2021

Learn More:

More from CPPP on Paid Sick Days:

 Additional Resources on Paid Sick Days:

Jonathan Lewis joined the Center 2018 where he focuses on creating economic opportunity for Texas families through policies that promote financial security and create good jobs. Previously, Jonathan worked as a policy analyst at the Texas Legislative Budget Board where he worked on the Texas Government Efficiency and Effectiveness Report and Health and Human Services forecasting. Jonathan’s prior work experience also includes working with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget where he worked on consumer protection which included implementation of the city’s paid sick leave law. Jonathan earned his Master of Public Administration from New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Business Administration in Economics from Baylor University.

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