Austin, Texas, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance on the Ropes

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 20, 2018

A local ordinance that would have required employers operating in Austin, Texas, to provide paid sick leave to employees has been blocked.

The Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, has found that the ordinance is unconstitutional because it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act. The Texas appellate issued a temporary injunction blocking the ordinance and returned the case to a lower court for further proceedings.

The City of Austin is considering different options in the hopes of restoring the ordinance, according to local media. But even if it succeeds, state legislators stand poised to preempt it.

The Austin ordinance was passed in February and had been scheduled to take effect on October 1, 2018. San Antonio passed a similar ordinance in August, which is scheduled to take effect August 1, 2019; now it appears likely it will meet the same fate as Austin's ordinance.

Several states and localities have enacted paid sick leave laws in recent years. Austin was the first in the South to do so, establishing a beachhead for potential expansion of this trend into other liberal-leaning cities and towns in an otherwise-conservative region.