Council Member Jimmy Flannigan proposes alternative paid sick leave policy

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District 6 Council Member Jimmy Flannigan proposed an alternative paid sick leave ordinance early Monday, three days before Austin City Council is scheduled to vote on one sponsored by District 4 Council Member Greg Casar.

“While our typical process is to submit amendments to a provided ordinance, in this case, due to the complexity, I felt it more prudent to offer an alternative in total,” Flannigan wrote in a post to the council’s public message board.

Unlike Casar’s draft ordinance, which was developed after a months-long public input process, Flannigan’s version exempts certain “micro-businesses”— those with five employees or fewer—from providing paid sick leave. Per Flannigan’s ordinance, micro-business owners would be allowed to provide unpaid sick leave to their employees and still be in compliance. 

Additionally, Flannigan’s ordinance proposes tiers of sick day accrual according to the size of the business.

For example, a full-time employee at a business with 6-49 employees can earn up to 40 hours, or five days, of paid sick time a year, according to Flanigan’s proposal. A full-time employee at a business with 50 or more employees, however, can earn up to 60 hours, of 7.5 days, of paid sick time a year.

Flannigan’s version also includes a reporting requirement and a provision that prohibits an employee for requesting additional shifts and then getting paid sick leave for those shifts if requested within three days. These changes are “intended to tighten-up areas I felt were too undefined, to fix some areas of concern, and to enable employees to organize and develop their own benefits package,” according to his post.

Flannigan said he will present his proposal at a city council work session on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s council meeting, when members are scheduled to vote on Casar’s version.

Following the work session, Flannigan’s proposal may be voted on Thursday as a substitute for Casar’s version, according to a spokesperson from Flannigan’s office.

4 comments
COMMENT
  1. I support Jimmy Flannigan’s Alternative Sick Leave Policy, i have been listening to many comments on this issue, and have been concerned for the survival of the local small businesses if the Casar’s version were to be passed. I hope that the council will act reasonably and put this “softer” version into effect.

  2. The fact that Mr’s Flannigan and Casar can make mandatory recommendations for the small business community is pretty mind-boggling to my business partners & I. We believe that their desire to have a say in our business is not merited, our team is 3 years young in the making. We currently provide health coverage insurance to the tune of 100% for all of our full time employees. We recently implemented a retirement plan where we increased our teammates salaries by 3% so it would not affect family budgets. Teammates have the option of matching or contributing additional funds if they wish. Our team earns more vacation time per pay period than most federal jobs do. The federal government mandates many other things, our company has a total of 12 full time teammates which basically eliminates us from complying with many of the items we willingly provide. Should this proposed sick leave pass mustard we will challenge it vigorously through the courts. Our president currently says and does what he wants, is that what our city council wants to mimic??? Do as they say without representation???? My partners and I will start looking for a new facility to relocate if this measure is approved. We have been considering a purchase in Austin, however if this proposal passes we will be looking in Round Rock, Leander, Cedar Park or Pflugerville. WE DO NOT AGREE WITH EITHER PROPOSAL!!!!!!! Let’s keep Austin weird, allow small companies to operate on their own values.

    • Charles Roberson

      If you are providing “more vacation time per pay period than most federal jobs” then it sounds like you’re already in compliance with these proposals and won’t have to make any changes.

  3. I support Jimmy’s alternate plan. I am a one person business with occasional part time help. No way
    Can I afford to pay sick leave.

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Emma Freer
Emma Freer began covering Central Austin for Community Impact Newspaper in 2017. Her reporting focuses include employment and higher education. She graduated from Columbia Journalism School in 2017.
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