San Antonio, Texas has passed the most recent paid sick leave ordinance, but it may never go into effect. The law mirror’s an earlier ordinance passed in April by Austin, TX. The Austin law is currently being debated in court.
As of November 16th, the 3rd Appeals Court ruled that the sick leave ordinance is unconstitutional. Depending on further appeals and decisions, the Austin law looks like it may be made invalid. If, when the dust settles, the law remains invalid, then it is likely that the San Antonio law will also be challenged in court.
Important Dates for Compliance
The new ordinance provides 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked. The law has 2 dates that it takes effect.
- August 1, 2019: 5+ employees
- August 1, 2021: 1-5 employees
Sick Leave Caps
Employers with 15 or fewer employees can cap sick leave to an accrual cap of 48 hours each year. Larger employers can cap accrual to 64 hours each year. Both small and large employers can limit sick leave use to a maximum of 8 sick leave days taken in a year.
- 1-15 employees: Sick leave accrual cap of 48 hours
- 16+ employees: Sick leave accrual capped to 64 hours
- All employers can limit sick leave use to 8 days each year
Employees who earn more than they use in a year can roll sick leave to the following year.
Covered Employees under Paid Sick Leave
Any employer who works 80 hours a year within city limits. The law covers temporary employees, seasonal employees, and part-time employees.
- Full-time employees
- Part-time employees
- Seasonal employees
- Temporary employees
Exclusions (exemptions) to Earned Sick & Safe Time
The law conveniently exempts government, even city, employees from the requirements of the law.
- Federal, state, and local government employees
- Employees who work less than 80 hours in a year
Allowable Uses for Earned Sick and Safe Time Leave
Employees can use sick leave for themselves or for a family member’s allowed reason. Covered reasons include:
- Physical or mental illness, health condition, preventative medical or health care, or injury
- Safety Time for needs relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking: to seek medical care, seek relocation, obtain services from a victim’s service organization, or participate in legal or civil court procedure.
Family Member Definitions
Family members include any individual related by blood or affinity whose close association is the equivalent of a family relationship.
- Any individual whose association is akin to a family relationship
Grace Period for Small and New Businesses
Sick leave starts to accrue on the first date o employment. However, employers can restrict the use of sick leave until the employee’s 60th day of work.
Employers can award employees with the full amount of sick leave at the beginning of the year. If employers front load sick leave, they must front-load the full annual cap. If employers front load sick leave, then unused sick leave does not need to be rolled to the following year.
Accrual of Sick and Safe Time (calendar year, exempt employees etc) Probationary timeline
Coordinating with Paid Time Off Policies
Employers can offer employees Paid Time Off (PTO) in replacement of sick leave as long as employees get the same amount of sick leave or greater each year. They must also be allowed to use their PTO for the same reasons allowed in the law.
Reasonable Documentation and notification of sick leave usage
Employers must provide employees with a statement of sick leave accrual and use at least monthly. They must notify employees of their sick leave rights.
Let SwipeClock Help
Businesses who have employees in Austin and a growing list of other cities may have to comply with multiple conflicting City ordinances defining Sick leave accrual and usage laws.
Additionally, these businesses have to also comply with Federal Overtime Laws, the Family Medical Leave Act and any other national or local laws that are enacted. SwipeClock provides a comprehensive array of workforce management and time tracking tools that can help businesses to more easily stay in compliance with local and national laws.
Records are effortlessly kept for years and accrual is automatically tracked and reported to employees according to the state and city laws. Additionally, with geo-timekeeping clocks, businesses can effortlessly track time worked in specific cities to ensure compliance.
SwipeClock is a leading provider of simple and affordable integrated workforce management services that provide intuitive employee access to integrated automated time and attendance, scheduling, leave management, HR dashboards, and other HR resources.
The company’s cloud products (WorkforceHUB, TimeWorksPlus, TimeSimplicity) and hardware clocks (TimeWorksTouch and TimeWorksTUFF and others) enable employers to manage their most important and expensive asset—employees—by transforming labor from a cost of doing business to a competitive advantage.
SwipeClock’s workforce management solutions are sold through over 900 partners that empower more than 30,000 businesses to lower labor costs, comply with regulatory mandates, and maximize profits.
Written by Annemaria Duran. Last updated on October 17, 2018