In our previous post, we introduced the city of Austin’s proposed sick leave ordinance, which the city council approved at last week’s meeting. Gardere’s Fred Sultan, a member of the labor and employment group in Austin, provides an update:
In the early hours of Feb. 16, Austin became the first city in Texas to require employers provide paid sick leave to their employees—whether full or part time. Any employer that has an employee in Austin—or even an employee elsewhere who spends some time working in Austin—should pay attention.
Here’s what you need to know right now:
While there are many other details contained in the ordinance, these points demonstrate that all employers need to seek counsel and ensure their policies and procedures are in compliance by the effective date.
The new law clearly has implications for private employers that do not currently provide sick leave or paid time off to their employees. On October 1, 2018, those employers will need to begin providing benefits and complying with the record-keeping and other aspects of the ordinance.
What is easy to overlook is that businesses that already offer sick leave will also be impacted. For example, many businesses offer leave for full-time employees, but do not do so for some part time or seasonal employees. As noted above, the ordinance requires an employer to provide sick leave for any employee who works for more than 80 hours in a year within the City of Austin. That means that a college student hired over the summer would need to accrue leave. Also, a year-round part-time employee working less than an average of 2 hours per week would begin to earn sick leave. Additionally, an employee who mainly works in another city, but works in Austin for the requisite 80 hours in a year, would be covered by the ordinance. As a result, all employers should review their leave policies to make sure they are ready to comply with the new law.